People planning their future are right to wonder, “how much does assisted living cost?” because there’s a good chance you’ll require some form of long-term care services at some point in your life. A whopping 70% of people will require assisted living in their lifetime.
So, what is assisted living? Assisted living is residential-based care for seniors that includes assistance with activities of daily living or ADLs. ADLs include personal hygiene, meals, medication, and getting dressed. Assisted living goes beyond ADLs, though, and provides community, activities, common areas for socialization, and more. Facilities that offer assisted living for seniors are staffed by caretakers as well as medical personnel to keep watch over the health and wellbeing of the facility’s residents. It is a place where seniors can exercise as much independence as they are able to, while also living in a place where they can receive the help they need when they need it.
Nearly 1 million seniors live in an assisted living facility within the United States and with the population of people over the age of 85 expected to triple by 2049, this number is going to grow exponentially in the next decade and beyond.
Assisted living is a realistic probability to prepare for. The costs of living can be very high in a facility with the level of care staff and medical staff that assisted living communities employ. If it’s an expense you’re unprepared for, you may not be able to afford these services. As such, it’s important to plan for these unknowns, especially when the likelihood that they will affect you one day is good.
In this guide, we’re going to answer, ‘how much does it cost to live in assisted living?’ and many more questions, including how to pay for assisted living and how to plan ahead. Let’s go over some of the costs associated with assisted living so that you can be better prepared for what may come in the future.
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So, how much do assisted living facilities cost? According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost for assisted living in the United States is $4,300, making the annual cost of assisted living $51,600. However, the amount you could have to pay for assisted living may end up being very different from the average cost of assisted living facilities. That’s because the costs associated with assisted living vary from state to state and city to city. You’ll also find that there are numerous other factors that can affect the cost of living in your unique situation. For instance, one facility may offer more amenities than another and that could drive the cost up. Assisted living facilities often offer amenities and activities for their residents, from swimming pools and duck ponds to outings and social events. The more extras an assisted living community offers, the higher the price will most likely be.
Another factor to consider is the facility’s pricing structure. Some assisted living communities will offer a standard rate that is all-inclusive, while others may have a base rate for rent and food, but they will charge fees for other services as you use them. The latter pricing structure can make budgeting for the expense of an assisted living facility difficult, so it might be worth your while to find one that has a more streamlined pricing model.
To find out what you might end up paying for assisted living services, reach out to the facilities in your area and get a few different detailed quotes to compare. Knowing the costs directly associated with the location and level of care you desire is a big help when it comes to budgeting for the future.
What does assisted living cost for couples? For those couples who may need some day to day help getting by, but who wish to remain together, assisted living can be the perfect option. You’ll have the opportunity to be as self-sufficient as you can handle while living in the same apartment as your spouse, just as you did at home. Even better, when you share living quarters in assisted living, you may not need to pay as much for the second occupant of your apartment.
The average cost of assisted living for a couple won’t likely be double what it is for one person. A single person living in an assisted living facility averages $4,300 per month, which includes the living space. If you add a second occupant, they may only have to pay for meals, care, amenities, and everything outside of the cost of the living space itself. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a significant cost though, as it can still exceed an added $1000 per month in many cases. It’s an expense you’ll need to consider when planning and budgeting for assisted living.
Assisted living affords seniors as much freedom as they can manage on their own, while providing care staff to fill in when they need assistance. Some facilities offer a set up reminiscent of an all-inclusive resort, with leisure amenities, social events, group meals and even classes. All while employing a medical staff to care for residents with both preventative medicine and treatment of current conditions. What you end up paying will reflect the services, amenities and level of care that your facility offers.
Your cost is likely to include some form of housekeeping and laundry service to aid seniors in keeping their living quarters tidy and their clothes clean. Your fees will also pay for maintenance staff that help keep the lights on and the elevators working. Included in the cost of assisted living is also well-balanced meals cooked and served to residents. Your cost may also cover utilities such as internet, television and phone service. In many facilities, daily activities and programs are also baked into the monthly cost of assisted living, which can include transportation for both social outings and errands or appointments. You might also pay for fitness programs, amenities such as a gym, pool or tennis courts, and classes for hobbies.
Every assisted living facility will also have emergency systems in place to protect the health and wellbeing of its residents, which is also often included in your monthly costs.
Assisted living is just one option when it comes to senior care. Some people prefer to stay in their home and have the assistance come to them, and in this case in-home care and home health care are options to consider. Depending on your future needs, you also might require less independence and more assistance, in which case a nursing home may be the choice for you. However, assisted living tends to be the most affordable choice for seniors all over the United States.
If you want to remain in your home but you need assistance with some of your ADLs, you may choose in-home care. This type of care is charged by the hour which means it can be more affordable or more expensive, depending on the level of care you require. If you’re requiring full-time assistance around your home, the median monthly cost of homemaker services, according to Genworth, is $4,957 while the median monthly cost of a home health aide is $5,148.
If you require more medical care and assistance, a nursing home may be the best option for you. Due to the increased need for medical staff, services and care, nursing homes are often quite a bit more expensive than assisted living facilities. According to the same data from Genworth, the median monthly cost of a nursing home is $7,908 and $9,034 for a private room.
Assisted living is an affordable option for most seniors and is less costly in most situations.
Depending on the facility, there may be hidden and unexpected costs associated with assisted living. It’s crucial to read through your contract so you know what you will be expected to pay for. Some of the hidden or additional costs you may find in your contract include:
The hidden costs you may encounter can differ greatly from this list, so it’s important to check with the facilities you’re interested in and clarify what the monthly fees cover and what they do not.
There are situations in which you can deduct the entire cost of assisted living facilities. If you’re in need of assisted living for a chronic illness, you may be able to deduct the full amount. If you are in assisted living for help with daily life, you will only be able to deduct medical services. Medical expenses that are more than 7.5% on your adjusted gross income can be deducted from your taxes. You will have to itemize these deductions on your schedule A form when you do your taxes.
Like any large cost that may come up in the future, the best way to ensure you’ll be able to pay for it is to prepare in advance. There are several different avenues you can take to prepare for this cost now so when the time comes to consider assisted living, you can afford the costs. Let’s take a look at some of these options.
Insurance is an effective way of preparing for anticipated future costs. So, does health insurance cover assisted living? Unfortunately, most private health insurance will not cover assisted living costs. However, it will always depend on the insurance you’ve purchased. It can’t hurt to check your policy or call your provider and ask. You may find that you are at least partially covered.
Long-term care insurance is sold specifically to cover the costs associated with disability requiring care. You’ll likely have to show that you need help with a certain number of ADLs in order to qualify, but you should be able to get a portion of your assisted living costs covered by your long-term care policy. Like any other form of insurance, though, coverage will vary from policy to policy so it’s always best to check with your provider or take a look at your policy to confirm what your coverage includes.
Original Medicare Parts A and B do not cover the costs of assisted living incurred as a result of your living space or assistance with day to day life and activities. You may, however, get coverage for medical services you receive while in assisted living. These services may include doctor’s examinations, nursing care, physical therapy and more. Medicare Advantage plans often include more coverage, but each plan is different. It’s always best to check in with your provider or look over your policy to see what exactly is covered when it comes to the costs associated with assisted living.
Medicaid varies in coverage from state to state. In some states, you will find you have Medicaid coverage for nursing and other care services. However, Medicaid never covers your life expenses, including room and board and extracurricular activities. To find out what Medicaid covers in your state, and what alternative programs may exist to help pay for assisted living, you can call your state’s department of Medicaid and ask for clarification.
If you are an American Veteran, you may be entitled to monthly benefits that can be used to pay for assisted living. These benefits are called the Aid and Attendance Benefit and are specifically designed to cover costs associated with long-term care. The benefit is issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs and there are some eligibility requirements you’ll need to take into consideration.
You will have to be at least 65 years old or permanently disabled. You will have to need assistance with at least two ADLs or you’ll have to require regular care. Single veterans can receive up to $2,050 per month for long-term care expenses, while a veteran with a spouse may collect up to $2,431. A surviving veteran’s spouse may collect up to $1,318 per month. The amount you receive will depend on many factors including your income. You can apply for the Aid and Attendance Benefit through your local Veterans Affairs office.
Your life insurance policy could include an accelerated death benefit, which means you may be able to receive a tax-free advance from your insurance to help pay for assisted living or other long-term care costs. You may also consider the pros and cons of cashing out your policy to pay for assisted living as in many cases, this could be a greater benefit to your family than the life insurance payout after you’ve passed.
Life settlement is when you sell your policy to another company. You won’t receive as much as would from the payout but you may be able to get enough to help with assisted living facility costs.
Many of us won’t have the savings to cover the cost of assisted living out of pocket, but there are options. Selling assets, including your home or property may be a good choice for you, especially if you’re going to be living elsewhere. Equity loans and other financing may be available to you. You might tap into your retirement accounts and investments to meet the costs of assisted living.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Everdays encourages individuals to seek advice from their own investment or tax advisor or legal counsel.