COST OF LIVING
The cost of senior living varies from state to state, community to community, and on the level of care needed. In most situations, senior living communities cost more than living at home, but in most cases, total senior living costs are significantly less than in-home care costs. Not to mention the daily assistance being provided in senior living enhances the quality of life and improves a senior’s health and safety.
There are several other considerations that play a big role in the final decision in choosing senior living. It is important to compare apartment sizes. A 500-square-foot apartment will obviously cost less than a 1,000 square-foot two-bedroom in the community. Also, it is important to know if a level of care is required for a resident. Not all residents require the same level of care. The ones who need extensive help will often pay more than those who need help with fewer aspects of daily life.
It is important to know what is included in the price. Many communities include rent, utilities, maintenance, a full social event calendar, three daily meals, and housekeeping and household assistance.
If your main concern is affordability, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey outlines the average daily, monthly, and annual costs of a private one-bedroom in an assisted living community. In Tennessee, the daily cost is around $124, monthly cost is $3,780, and annually $45,360. In Kentucky, the daily cost is around $108, monthly cost is $3,300, and annually $39,600.
For more information on the community’s cost of living, please contact the community or request a brochure.
There are a wide variety of financial assistance programs and government benefits that can help seniors in need. But what’s available will depend on income level and location.
To find out what types of assistance you may be eligible for, just go to BenefitsCheckUp.org, a free, confidential Web tool designed for adults 55 and older and their families. It will help you locate federal, state and private benefits programs that can assist with paying for food, medications, utilities, health care, housing and other needs. This site – created by the National Council on Aging – contains more than 2,000 programs across the country.
To identify benefits, you’ll first need to fill out an online questionnaire that asks a series of questions like your date of birth, her ZIP code, expenses, income, assets, veteran status, the medications you take and a few other factors. It takes about 15 minutes.
Once completed, you’ll get a report detailing all the programs and services you may qualify for, along with detailed information on how to apply.
Types of Benefits
Depending on your income level and where you live, here are some benefits that you may be eligible for:
Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help pay for groceries. The average monthly SNAP benefit is currently around $127 per person. Other programs that may be available include the Emergency Food Assistance Program, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.
Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs can help or completely pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. And, there are special Medicaid waiver programs that provide in-home care and assistance.
There are hundreds of programs offered through pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and charitable organizations that help lower or eliminate prescription drug costs, including the federal Low-Income Subsidy known as “Extra Help” that pays premiums, deductibles and prescription copayments for Medicare Part D beneficiaries.
There’s the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), as well as local utility companies and charitable organizations that provide assistance in lowering home heating and cooling costs.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
Administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI provides monthly payments to very low-income seniors, age 65 and older, as well as to those who are blind and disabled. SSI pays up to $733 per month for a single person and up to $1,100 for couples.
In addition to these programs, there are numerous other benefits they can help you locate such as HUD housing, home weatherization assistance, tax relief, veteran’s benefits, senior transportation, respite care, free legal assistance, job training and employment and debt counseling.
HELPING OUR PARENTS PLAN AHEAD
As your parents age and their health issues increase, they may need part-time or full-time care to manage routine tasks. The type of care you choose together will depend on how involved you or other siblings are, how much your parents can do on their own, and what they are able to afford.
The 3 main options for care are, in-home care, assisted living, or a nursing home. Although budget is an important consideration, financial assistance is often available, so if your preferred option seems too expensive, don’t rule it out before finding out if the cost can be subsidized or covered.
In-home care is a very customizable option that can be structured to meet specific needs. Many people prefer to stay in their homes, and your parents can continue to do so for a long time with the right home modifications and assistance.
Options include hiring a home health nurse or helper, having a live-in family member, and paying for certain tasks such as housekeeping or a meal delivery service.
If you can’t afford to hire a geriatric care specialist, you may be able to find one for free by contacting the local federally funded office on aging.
If you are unsure about the specific needs of your parents, consider hiring a geriatric care specialist to evaluate their living environment. The specialist can make recommendations about home modifications that would improve the safety and usability for your parent.
An assisted living community may be a good choice if your parents don’t need full-time nurse care but cannot safely live at home on their own. Assisted living communities have resident assistants and nurses available 24 hours a day and help residents manage daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and taking medications. It would be a good idea to visit several locations to see exactly how they operate and what level of care they provide.
A nursing home, or skilled nursing facility, is ideal for those with health conditions that require medical treatment or continuous monitoring. It is usually the last option for care because it is the most restrictive and reduces the independent lifestyle of residents.
Nursing homes can be expensive, especially if you are paying out of pocket for a private room. If a nursing home is a necessity and budget is a concern, find out what financial assistance options are available.
Paying for senior care
Even if your parents have money saved for retirement, paying for care over an extended period can be a financial drain. Exploring different options becomes easier if your parents’ income and assets can comfortably pay for their care.
If their income and assets are limited, they may qualify for Medicaid or other programs that can subsidize or pay for the cost of your parent’s care.
Many seniors do not qualify for Medicaid because of their retirement funds, but there are alternatives for paying for care if they need financial assistance. Some options for financing can include:
- Long-term care insurance
- Reverse mortgage
- Veterans benefits
- Life insurance
- Dividing expenses & care between siblings
If either of your parents is an active-duty veteran, they are eligible for monthly benefits. Any veteran or their spouse who served during a foreign war can apply for the Aid & Attendance Special Pension.
A married veteran can receive more than $2,000 per month to pay for senior care, and a veteran’s surviving spouse can receive around $1,000 a month.
This benefit can be used to pay for any kind of care, in-home, assisted living, or nursing home care. It can also be used to pay friends or family members to aid, even if they are not medical professionals.
There is also the Veterans Aid and Attendance (VA&A) Pension provides benefits to veterans and their spouses to help pay for costs of senior living. Benefits can change yearly, so we encourage families to contact us today to determine their eligibility.
Need Help Choosing an Assisted Living Facility
If you want to maintain a higher level of independence and still enjoy the company of others then Assisted living may be appealing to you. If you do not need skilled medical help then an Assisted living facility may be for you as each facility offers a wide range of services, personal care options, and amenities.
If you have had a change in health, or experienced a fall or other injury, you may be looking for an alternative to maintaining a house and living alone. Assisted living is a good option for older adults who need a little help and want social interaction too.
HOW TO TELL IF IT’S TIME TO MOVE TO ASSISTED LIVING?
- Weight loss
- Spoiled or no food in the refrigerator
- Poor eyesight
- Poor hearing
- Poor balance
- Covering up bruises
- Unopened mail
- Unpaid bills
- House looking more messy
- Unwashed dishes
- Laundry not done
- Wearing the same clothes continuously
- Struggling with bathing and/or toileting
- Stumbling and falling
- Driving mishaps
- Not operating appliances safely
- Not taking medications correctly
- Isolation from family/friends
- Spending more time alone
- No longer participating in regular social activities
If any of these concerns apply to you or a loved one, it is time to start your search for an assisted living alternative lifestyle.
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Memory Loss: One of the most common early signs of dementia is forgetting recently learned information. While it is normal to forget common everyday things once in a while, those with dementia will forget things more often and not remember them later.
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks: People with dementia find it hard to complete tasks that were once familiar to them. They may not know how to prepare a meal, use a household appliance, make a phone call, etc.
- Problems with language: Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a persona with dementia often forgets simple words or substitutes with unusual words. Writing and language skills become more difficult and the individual may become annoyed that you don’t understand what they are trying to communicate.
- Disorientation to time and place: Individuals with Alzheimer’s may become lost on their own street, forget where they are, how they got there and how to get home.
- Poor or decreased judgment: Individuals with dementia often show poor judgment with regard to money, giving away large amounts to telemarketers or other individuals, they may dress inappropriately for the weather conditions, etc.
- Problems with abstract thinking: Everyday activities such as writing or balancing the checkbook become difficult. They may completely forget what the numbers are used for.
- Misplacing things: A person with dementia may put things in unusual places; an iron in the freezer, a sandwich under the sofa…hording and hiding are common behaviors.
- Changes in mood or behavior: Rapid mood swings become more frequent. The mood swings can go from calm to tears to anger within minutes for no apparent reason.
- Changes in personality: A person with Alzheimer’s disease may change drastically, becoming inappropriate, irritable, suspicious or fearful.
- Loss of initiative: People with Alzheimer’s may become passive, sleep more or become reluctant to get involved in activities they once enjoyed such as reading, sports, social activities, etc.