How Can I Pay For Assisted Living Housing
Paying for retirement living home is a little different when compared with residential or nursing care.
If you move into assisted housing you can use your PIP or Attendance Allowance towards the monthly cost of maintenance and care. However if you are moving into assisted housing youll need to pay for the initial outlay yourself.
This is something the government does not subsidise this unfortunately means that it is not normally a viable option for those with low incomes and few assets or funds.
However it may be possible for you to sell your existing home and purchase an assisted living property with plenty of cash to spare. You could then invest this in another property or into a savings account to help towards the cost of future care.
For more information on the paying care fees, please read our section on the different way that you can pay your care costs.
You will find details of the 6 main ways in which you can typically meet your care fees as well as details of the advantages and disadvantage of each option. Getting this is right is really important, so we do strongly recommend that you read this.
What Is The Difference Between Retirement Assisted Living Homes
There is only one type of retirement assisted living but all providers differ in their offering. Of course the location and environmental surroundings of assisted living facilities are different.
Some providers allow you to pay as you go. In this situation you move to an assisted living facility and purchase your property and pay the basic fee for maintenance and additional services. You then pay or apply for additional care as it is needed so you dont waste money by paying for a full package early on.
If you are taking ill health retirement then these could be a good option for you.
Who Would Benefit From Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities are usually more appropriate for those with low-level care needs , such as mobility issues or memory loss.
The best thing to do if you feel you may need care provision now is to speak to your GP or social worker, or a consultant if you have on-going medical needs.
They may arrange a care needs assessment, which determines exactly which type of care you need and which will be best for you.
Here is a useful video that explains what a care needs assessment is and how it works. Well worth a watch!
You can then use this along with your personal preference to choose whether assisted living care is suitable for you.
However, despite this, lots of people choose to enter into assisted living facilities at an early stage, when they do not require additional care. This is because they feel comfortable being in a safe environment with the appropriate facilities, should they feel they need additional care provision in the future.
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How Can I Pay For Assisted Living
Once youve decided assisted living is the right choice for your loved one, its time to make a plan to finance care. Do your research to understand options to save on assisted living costs. While many families rely on savings, there are other options that can help your family pay for assisted living care, including:
- Veterans benefits. A veteran or their widowed spouse may benefit from the VA Aid and Attendance program. If your loved one is eligible, they may receive a supplemental income to help pay for senior care at an assisted living facility.
- Home equity. You may be able to sell your parents home, rent it, or apply for a reverse mortgage to convert equity into funds to pay for assisted living.
- Long-term care insurance. Ask your loved one if theyve purchased long-term care insurance. Often, this type of insurance covers care at an assisted living facility.
- Life insurance. Check if your loved ones life insurance policy may be sold for a lump sum to help fund long-term care.
- Bridge loan. Short-term loans can help fund senior care while youre selling your parents home or liquidating other assets to cover costs.
- Medicaid and Medicare. If your relative qualifies, Medicaid may cover some assisted living expenses. While Medicare doesnt cover long-term care, it may pay for some health care costs received while in an assisted living facility.
Benefits Of Moving To Assisted Living
Moving to assisted living can feel intimidating, overwhelming, and just plain hard. It can mean going through decades of household items, saying goodbye to a family home, and the end of a chapter. It is also is the beginning of an awesome new journey with new opportunities and new adventures waiting each day.
Take a closer look at what assisted living is, when its time to make the move, choosing assisted living, and how moving to senior living can improve health and overall wellness.
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How Easy Is It For You To Get Around
You may live in an area where you have to drive to attend social activities, visit friends, and shop. If you find yourself less comfortable with driving, you may find yourself relying more and more on public transportation or family and friends to get around. It may be harder to visit others, pursue activities you enjoy, or keep doctors appointments.
As well as onsite amenities, many independent living or retirement communities also offer convenient transportation options to outside activities.
What If I Cannot Afford My Assessed Monthly Rate
If you are receiving publicly subsidized assisted living services and payment of your assessed monthly rate would cause you or your family serious financial hardship, you may be eligible for a reduced rate.
Serious financial hardship means that payment of your assessed monthly rate would result in you being unable to pay for:
- adequate food
- prescribed medication or
- other required prescribed health care services.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply for a temporary reduction of your monthly rate, please see:
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Developing A Financial Plan For Assisted Living
Since many families pay for assisted living from their savings, they are in a state of continuously diminishing resources. Most assistance programs determine eligibility based on an individuals resources. Therefore, the assistance available to an individual is constantly changing. In other words, the longer a person resides in assisted living, the more assistance options that become available to them.
For this reason , it is advantageous to develop a long term financial plan when considering assisted living. Doing so has the dual benefit of ensuring a comfortable and consistent aging process for your loved one while at the same time maximizing your familys assets and resources.
The creation of a financial plan for assisted living is a complicated process and one that must accommodate various health scenarios. Fortunately, there are a variety of different resources available to help families with financial planning for assisted living and each of the resources has its pros and cons.
Elderlaw Attorneys the most expensive and most thorough option are elderlaw attorneys. This type of attorney and their staff can provide a one-stop shop for assisted living financial planning, but their hourly rate may prove cost-prohibitive for some families. A shortcoming is an elderlaw attorney may not be knowledgeable about local assistance options for lower income families. One can search the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney database here.
A Social Engaging Environment
Its no secret that social connection and engagement lead to happier lives. But did you know that social isolation can actually harm both mental and physical health?
Nearly 13.8 million seniors live alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Its not uncommon for older adults who live alone to feel lonely. Changes in family dynamics such as divorce or the loss of loved ones chronic illness, hearing loss, poor mobility, and lack of adequate transportation are just a few of the reasons seniors may feel isolated.
Loneliness can lead to habits that negatively affect health, like smoking, excessive drinking, and poor nutrition. It can also increase someones risk for depression, dementia, and heart disease, among other health conditions.
Assisted living offers plenty of opportunities for seniors to stay physically active, learn new skills, and engage with like-minded friends and peers. Enrichment programs and activities at assisted living facilities appeal to all kinds of interests, including sports, music, crafts, religious and spiritual practices, and more. While programs and activities vary from one community to the next, many assisted living facilities offer a wide range of options that allow residents with different levels of cognitive and physical skills to participate and feel included.
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Range Of Assisted Living Services
Nationwide, 28,900 assisted living facilities nationwide have nearly 1 million beds, according to the most recent data available from the National Center for Assisted Living.
They vary widely in size, from fewer than 10 residents to more than 100, with an average capacity of 33. More than half of assisted living facilities are part of national chains with the rest independently owned.
Most facilities provide some basic health care services, according to the organization.
- Access to a pharmacy: 83.6 percent
- Dietary and nutritional guidance: 82.8 percent
- Physical, occupational and/or speech therapy: 71.4 percent
- Hospice care: 67.7 percent
- Skilled nursing care: 66.1 percent
- Mental health services or counseling: 55 percent
- Social worker services: 51.1 percent
Some offer specialized services for people with dementia, sometimes called memory care. A little more than 14 percent of assisted living facilities have a special memory care unit, wing or floor, and another 8.7 percent accept only dementia patients.
Some also offer services tailored for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities or particular medical conditions such as Parkinsons disease.
What Optional Services Can I Choose To Pay For In Addition To My Monthly Rate
Assisted living service providers may also offer you optional services. If you choose to receive any of these optional services, you may be required to pay an additional fee over and above your monthly rate. These optional services may include:
- cable connection and monthly fee
- personal telephone connection and basic services
- meals and suite rental for guests
- outings or special events
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Exercise And Falls Prevention Classes
These classes help seniors stay active, healthy and independent. They focus on improving strength and balance to prevent injury and falls. They are led by fitness instructors, trained peer facilitators or support workers not a registered physiotherapist
You may find classes offered in your community or long-term care homes.
To find a class near you call the Seniors INFOline:
Ask About Staffing Patterns
To feel confident that you or your loved one will be well taken care of, its important to ask questions about the staffing levels and workload at an assisted living facility. For example:
- How many staff members are actually involved in residents care?
- How many people are working at any one time?
- What are their duties during those timesdo they have time to interact with residents?
- Are there registered nurses on site?
- How do staffing patterns differ at night?
- What happens when a staff member is sick or otherwise unable to be at workis there enough cover?
Choosing an assisted living facility
Visit a facility at different timesduring activities and meal times, for exampleand seek feedback from residents and their families or via online reviews.
What to look for in the staff:
- Do they have time to speak with you or does it feel rushed?
- Do they appear genuinely friendly and interested in you?
- Do they interact warmly with current residents? Or do they seem stressed or overwhelmed?
- How do they handle emergencies?
What to look for in the residents:
- Do they appear happy?
- Do they enjoy interacting with one another?
- Do they seem like people youd enjoy getting to know?
- Are there hobbies or groups on site that look interesting to you?
What to look for in the facility:
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Coping With A Move To Independent Living
Moving home is a major life event and can be a stressful time for anyone. Despite the many advantages of independent living, making the decision to move can still be difficult. You may feel angry or embarrassed that youre no longer able to maintain your current home, or regret that it simply feels too big for you now.
Even if youre looking forward to the increased social opportunities and companionship offered by independent living, you may still grieve for the loss of a home filled with memories or a neighborhood filled with familiar faces.
The thought of leaving everything you know can also make you feel vulnerable and anxious. You may feel like youre losing control of your life or yearn for the way things used to be. Its important to realize that all of these feelings are normal. Take some time to acknowledge these feelings of loss.
Sometimes talking to someone who is sympathetic can help. Reach out to trusted family or friends, or talk to a counselor or therapist. Remember that youre not alone in this. Most of us over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term care services, so theres nothing to be ashamed about in admitting you need more help than you used to.
Need to talk to someone?
Get professional help from BetterHelps network of licensed therapists.
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Is An Assisted Living Facility Right For You
If youre trying to decide whether assisted living is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you need more help than family and friends are able to provide? Are the activities of daily living becoming stressful or overwhelming? If family or in-home help is not able to bridge the gap, assisted living is an option.
Do you feel lonely or isolated at home? Having an active social life is vital to your health and happiness. Being alone much of the time is a recipe for depression in older adults. The social aspect of assisted living can be a huge benefit. Good facilities offer a range of social and recreational activities. And the community environment also gives the opportunity to make new friends.
Do you worry for your safety? Perhaps your mobility is limited, making it difficult to get out of bed by yourself, for example. Maybe youre afraid of what might happen if you fell and couldnt get up, or experience another problem and couldnt get help.
Are you tired of maintaining a home? There are a lot of responsibilities that come with living in your own home. Assisted living facilities can provide a home-like atmosphere, without the work of cooking, cleaning, shopping for groceries, and doing laundry.
Signs that an older adult might need assisted living
Its not always easy to tell when your parent or another loved one needs more help. The following warning signs may indicate that its time for a talk about assisted living:
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What To Look For When You Visit
Once youve narrowed down your list to a few facilities with the services and price range youre looking for, schedule visits to tour them and talk with administrators, staff and residents. Take your loved one with you and let them handle as much of the talking and decision-making as possible.
NCAL recommends visiting each facility multiple times. Arrange to be there during mealtimes and perhaps even have lunch with residents, to give you a better sense of what its like to live there.
From AARPs checklist, here are some other things to look for:
- An emergency generator or alternative power source in case of an outage
- Enough common areas, such as dens and living rooms
- A floor plan that’s logical and easy to follow
- Large enough rooms for your family members needs
- Rooms and bathrooms with handrails and call buttons
- Safety locks on doors and windows
- Security and fire safety systems
- Services such as banking, a beauty salon or a café
- Well-lit stairs and hallways with well-marked exits
The National Center for Assisted Living advises that you ask plenty of questions about staff members, including their qualifications and whether they receive additional training from the facility.
On your visits, observe how employees interact with residents. Ask about the facilitys suggestion, complaint and grievance procedures, and whether it has resident and family councils to provide feedback.
What If My Health Changes
You may continue to live in an Assisted Living residence as long as:
- your health condition is stable
- you can make decisions on your own behalf
- your care needs, including end-of-life care, can be met in Assisted Living.
You will need to move to a more appropriate setting if:
- your health condition declines permanently
- your care needs increase significantly
- you are no longer able to make decisions on your own behalf
If that happens, your case manager will be able to help you through the process.
For more information, read the Home and Community Care Guide: Planning for an unexpected interruption in care.
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Making The Decision To Leave Home: What You May Be Feeling
No matter your situation, moving is always stressful. But when youre contemplating leaving your home for an assisted living facility, stress is just the tip of the emotional iceberg. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one, but grief is a natural response to any loss. And the loss of your home, neighborhood, and community is a big one.
The thought of leaving everything you know can make you feel very vulnerable. You may feel like youre losing your independence or a big part of your identity. Its important to realize that all of these feelings are normal. Take some time to acknowledge these feelings of loss. Sometimes talking to someone who is sympathetic can help. Counseling and therapy can be an option too. Give yourself time to grieve and get used to the change.
Need to talk to someone?
Get professional help from BetterHelps network of licensed therapists.
Need urgent help? .