When the idea of assisted living comes up, many questions seem to flood the conversation: what type of care do we need? How far away is too far away? What counts as a “good deal,” when it comes to assisted living? Out of all of these, one of the biggest questions asked is how to pay for assisted living.
How to Pay for Assisted Living
In-home care can come at an hourly rate, but most residential houses or nursing homes can cost thousands of dollars a month. While keeping the loved one in mind, it can be difficult to balance cost with comfort. With the emotional toll that the reality of needing assisted living brings, feeling confident that overcharging is not occurring can provide peace of mind. Check out the tips below to find out how to reduce the stress and costs associated with assisted living.
Research and Plan
Be sure to start looking into assisted living options at least six months in advance (unless that amount of time is not available). The sooner the better, as it gives more time to process, compare, and check the rates and reviews on any service that may be an option. In some situations, the best places (especially those of the best value) may have a waiting list.
To ensure that a loved one can get into a place within budget, do some research and plan ahead. It is important to know what qualities are needed or wanted in an assisted living service. Finding reviews, calling around, researching on the internet, and asking plenty of questions are great ways to determine which places can meet a loved one’s unique needs and not break the budget.
Make the First Place the Only Place
What is more expensive than finally deciding on what kind of assisted living is needed? Changing plans! If a family member is dissatisfied with the first service that is chosen, it can be even more expensive to cancel a contract and restart the process all over again.
Be sure to visit with and/or interview everyone who will be in contact with a loved one, if possible. This ensures that there are no surprises once everything is solidified. If the idea of picking one and moving in causes anxiety, ask the business if a test-run (from a night up to a week) is possible. Most service providers are happy to assist if it helps family, friends, and a loved one make a decision (especially in favor of their business)!
Research Price Flexibility
Although some businesses have a set price for their services, there are places that have more flexibility; some can base their rates on the income of the person paying, some have payment plans, and some are even open to negotiation.
Check the reviews and what previous customers say about the pricing process. Do research and decide what price the family is comfortable with (and what would be fair to all parties). Some people might be surprised to find the price flexibility of some services–the family may just have to ask!
Consider Various Areas
Even though having family close or familiarity with the area of certain assisted living facilities can provide peace of mind, it does not always ensure the best prices. Not only can relocating to a different area bring new opportunities for the resident (moving closer to the beach may be a healthy change!), it can be more affordable in the long-term. While looking in different areas may entail different zip codes or even different states, it may be better for the individual, facilities in the city tend to cost more than, perhaps, a facility in the suburbs or a more rural area. Keep an open mind, and that will open many possibilities.
Always Know Which Services Funds Cover
Just like with airlines or buffets, knowing which services or products funds cover will help in the decision-making process. Some facilities will throw in random benefits to their services that a loved one may not even use, such as an on-call counselor or nutritionist. If certain benefits do not apply to a loved one, it is important to ask about A La Carte payment options, or paying only for particular services. This can reduce costs tremendously and allows a loved one or family members to cater the services to specific needs and desires.
If a loved one is unsure of what features are needed or desired, ask about interviewing current residents and to see which benefits they like the most about the facility. First-hand accounts are a great way to rule out extra benefits that are not entirely worth it!
Consider Care Insurance
If assisted living is a long-term reality for a loved one, there are insurance options that can help support necessary care. Care insurance differs from Medicare or Medicaid, which both tend not to cover all the costs. Instead, care insurance can greatly support the care needed.
Be cautious, however, that families or a loved one does not end up spending more on care insurance than the actual care. Also be sure to double check that communities families and the loved one are considering accepts the applicable insurance plan. Different places may have different policies that prevent them from accepting certain (if not all) insurance plans.
Find a Roommate
Although it can be a daunting task, finding a roommate for a family member in assisted living can be a great way to save money. Splitting the expenses of a room (one of the major costs) can sometimes reduce bills by up to 75%, if not more!
To ensure a happy pairing, hold interviews or simply ask the facility if any current members are looking for a roommate. A test-run or a compatibility test can be a great way to indicate how two individuals will operate together in the same room. It can save a lot of time and money in the long-run!
Research Veterans’ Benefits
Many veterans are eligible for reduced-cost (or even sometimes free) assisted living. Veterans’ homes, VAs, and even basic nursing homes are great options for veterans. The government has determined that veterans should have additional benefits that are often state or federally sponsored. The benefits provided can save a lot of money.
For those with debilitating benefits, some locations offer special services or benefits to those who have made some of the greatest sacrifices for our country. There are also veteran homes with medical-based care, to help those who have mental, physical, or military-based needs.
Know the Care Needed
It can be overwhelming to look at all of the different types of care; therefore, knowing the type of care needed is the best way to start the process of looking into options. Look at different sites and facilities that give descriptions of their care and see if it those descriptions fit the loved one’s unique need . If a loved one or family member is considering assisted living due to a medical issue, a health care-based service may be the right choice. If not, look for basic nursing homes (which tend to be a lot more cost-efficient than those that provide medical services).
If unsure of what type of care is best, consulting a doctor is always a good idea. Once the doctor explains specific needs that the individual has, it is easier to plan which type of care facilities to look into and know which to take seriously, based on what type of care they offer.
Get Some Help!
No one should have to do this blindly or by themselves. Seeking help from an advisor or financial consultant is one of the best ways to ensure the best care for the best cost. Professional caregivers typically have consultants on-site that can give advice– be wary of these individuals, as their agenda may be to persuade a loved one or family members to the place that employs them. If finding a professional consultant seems too intimidating, ask friends or family members if they have gone through similar situations, and, if so, to assist in making decisions. See if they have any recommendations personal experiences they would like to share.
Cut Expenses or Find Funds Elsewhere
As the transition to assisted living or care takes place, it is important to evaluate which assets are only being held simply for sentimentality. If the home, car, or other assets are simply sitting around collecting dust, selling and using that money to fund the care needed is a great way to pay for assisted living.
Make sure to ask if the family member has a 401(k), investments, or excess money anywhere that may help alleviate the cost. Any little bit helps, so be sure to liquidate any funds available.
All in all, the best way to find the most cost-efficient care is to do the research and take time to consider all of the options. Do not stress out; almost everyone in the care service must go through this process and find out how to pay for assisted living. There are plenty of options available–it is all about finding the information and planning ahead. Find help, and know that it is possible to get the best care at a price within budget. Contact Cobbdale Assisted Living for more information.