People often experience sticker shock, when they discover how much it will cost to move into an assisted living facility. Many places charge $6,000 a month or higher. In many retirement facilities, you do get a lot for your money. However, others charge a great deal and do not deliver as much as others. It can help to understand why assisted living facilities cost so much, so you can comparison shop and make an informed choice.
If you view the price tag of the long-term care facility as an expense you must pay besides your existing expenses, very few people could afford to live in a retirement facility. Most of us do not have several thousand dollars of excess income every month, when retired. An assisted living center, however, eliminates several of your ongoing costs.
The Costs of Maintaining Your Own Home
Let’s say you rent an apartment in the community. You will probably spend around $1,500 a month in rent. Your groceries can run about $125 to $150 a week. Healthcare for seniors averages about $375 a month.
Transportation is a significant cost, when you include a car payment, auto insurance, driver’s license and registration, annual state fees, personal property taxes, inspections, maintenance, repairs, gasoline and parking. A retirement facility that provides shuttles can save you $600 or $700 a month.
Participating in even a small portion of the entertainment the center offers could easily cost you a couple hundred dollars out in the community. Without including utilities, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, and the other numerous costs of maintaining your own home, an assisted living facility could provide around $3,500 of your expense items.
What Assisted Living Centers Can Offer
Depending on the meal and services plan you select, the center can provide:
- Your meals, which eliminates the costs of your groceries
- Grounds maintenance, which gets rid of the hassle and cost of yard work
- House cleaning, making the expense of cleaning equipment, supplies, and a house cleaning service unnecessary
- Rent or mortgage, home repairs, homeowner or tenant insurance, real estate taxes, utilities, cable television, internet, and other costs of maintaining a household
- Safety and security
- Memory care
- Onsite medical care and transportation to offsite medical facilities
- Staff to assist in the event of a crisis
- Activities and entertainment to keep you socially engaged and to preserve cognitive function
What you might pay for all these items in the community, can add up to or more than the monthly cost of an assisted living center. When pricing several facilities, get a printed list of the services they provide. Do not accept vague terms, such as “some meals” or “light housekeeping.” Have them specify precisely what you will get for your money. You can then evaluate your options and get the best value.
Talking with an elder law attorney near you, can help you prepare the legal documents you should have before moving into an assisted living center, and to discover how your state differs from the general law covered in this article.
Elder Care. “Why is Senior Housing So Expensive and What Can We Do About It?” (accessed August 18, 2018) https://eldercare.com/why-is-senior-housing-so-expensive