Retirement communities are expensive, so it makes sense to choose a facility that does not make you pay for services and amenities you will not use. You would not knowingly agree to pay for unlimited drinks at a bar, if you do not consume alcohol. Therefore, avoid wasting your money on assisted living center options that do not fit your lifestyle.
If you discover what the total monthly bill at the assisted living center includes, you can usually come up with ways to cut the high cost of senior living facilities. Certain essential costs, like rent, are not optional at these centers. Many other items might be negotiable.
If you never want to cook another meal, a full meal plan will be a wise choice. If, however, you enjoy cooking at least some of your meals, you should not have to pay for facility-prepared meals you will not be eating. Talk with the assisted living center about your options for meals. Some allow residents to choose among several meal plans, such as:
- Eating all of your meals in the dining hall of the facility
- Eating one or two meals a day with the group and the others on your own
- Not eating any facility-prepared meals
You can reduce the amount you pay for long-term care significantly, by adjusting the services the facility provides. If you want the retirement center to do all your house cleaning and laundry, for example, you can expect to pay for that level of service. If, however, you want to maintain your independence for as long as you can and save money, you might start with a services package that does not provide these options. Just make sure the center will allow you to change your services package, when you want to.
If living in an older adult community with a golf course is your idea of a dream retirement, you have plenty of locations available. If you do not play golf, there is no reason for you to shoulder that expense to benefit others. If an amenity is not important to you or is not part of your lifestyle, consider looking at facilities that do not provide that item.
Since assisted living centers now boast such things as on-site bowling alleys, hair and nail salons, spas, Olympic-size swimming pools, fitness centers and gourmet restaurants, it is easy to fall into the trap of moving into a place that will be a waste of your money. Live as comfortably as you want and can afford, but be on guard for gimmicks that will increase your expenses.
Location, Location, Location
Just as with real estate and nearly everything else, the cost of retirement developments varies a great deal depending on location. Centers in the suburbs cost less than ones in large cities. While it may have been essential to live in a particular part of the country because of your job and schools for your children, you might be more flexible about location at this point in your life.
Economical Alternatives to Senior Living Facilities
It is often possible to meet all your needs, without moving into an assisted living center. Staying in your home, especially if you have paid off your mortgage, can be more desirable and economical than moving into a long-term care development. You can arrange home health care, housekeeping, yard services and other types of assistance. Having someone move into your home and provide these services, in exchange for rent or a reduction of rent can be an economical option.
Talk with an elder law attorney in your area to discover how your state’s regulations differ from the general law discussed in this article and to prepare the legal documents that can make your retirement worry-free.
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