The right assisted living community provides your loved one with a wonderful, enriching lifestyle in a safe and secure environment. Such communities provide help, as needed, with the activities of daily living (ADLs) and offer a wide range of stimulating social and recreational activities. However, the responsibility of ensuring that assisted living costs will be manageable is a task that might seem daunting.
Senior Solutions Management Group, managing assisted living communities in Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and South Carolina, is sharing some strategies for saving and paying for assisted living.
The Real Cost of Assisted Living
Many people think about life in terms of costs and rewards. Obviously, financial strain can inhibit this philosophy, but thinking about the benefits your loved one will receive in their quality of life, safety, and overall happiness will far outweigh the monetary costs associated with assisted living.
Thankfully, there are many options for assisted living communities that will suit you and your loved one's needs. While some facilities might charge a higher fee for added amenities, more living space, or a more advanced level of care, you should ultimately find trustworthiness and integrity in any assisted living community you and your family choose regardless of cost.
Assess the Financial Situation of Your Loved One
One of the most challenging tasks in the process of moving to assisted living is having a candid conversation about finances. You'll need to sit down with your loved one and have a respectful conversation about his or her financial situations and assets. Doing so will, in effect, help you in your effort to bring your loved one more peace and care.
If you anticipate this will be a sensitive conversation or if there are family tensions related to finances, you may want to bring in an outside, unbiased financial planning professional to help with this process. Some accountants and financial advisors specialize in elder care, so they will have the experience to guide you through the expectations and analyze your current financial standing with honesty and care.
You also may be able to receive financial planning advice from a particular assisted living community you're considering. Many communities have in-house finance professionals who can give you the most specific details for your financial standing. This will give you the best idea of what to expect at a specific community and how you can meet the assisted living costs for that facility.
Analyze What Assets Can Help Pay Assisted Living Costs
Inquire about liquid assets (bank accounts, equities, etc) as well as insurance, annuities, and real-estate holdings. One of the largest sources of funds often used for assisted living is the family home. If selling the home is an option, then this is a good starting place to provide funds for assisted living. If your loved one purchased a long-term insurance policy, then review it with them carefully to determine what it will pay for in assisted living. Find out if annuities can be cashed in early to provide added funding.
Government benefits such as Medicaid and veteran's benefits may also be resourceful, though these programs have many requirements and restrictions. If you believe your loved one might qualify for help through these programs, it will be worth it to investigate this option as a possibility.
Another source of financial help could be other family members, so consider this option if it seems realistic. Tread carefully here, as financial conversations among family members can be difficult and sensitive. It is likely that this process will be uncomfortable, but it shouldn't be so uncomfortable that it sacrifices relationships.
Set a Budget and Research Assisted Living Communities
Once you have a clear picture of your loved one's financial situation, create a budget for assisted living costs. Be aware that the monthly rate is not the only cost associated with assisted living. There are other fees that may not covered such as guest meals, entry deposit costs, and private transportation. These costs are usually extraneous and not mandatory, but they are still important to consider.
You'll know have a better understanding of a community's specific costs once you begin your research and on-site visits. Make sure you set aside adequate time with each community to assess its suitability. Set up interviews with key managers and staff people. Take a tour of the community and join them for a community center meal. Visit at different times of day and talk to residents without staff members present. This will give you a wholistic and well-rounded idea of the costs versus benefits of a particular community.