How to Pay for Senior Living
As the child of an older adult, you may be proactively thinking about the next chapter of your loved one’s life—especially with housing. Whether you’re anticipating the need for your parent to downsize or see the need for additional support down the line, it’s never too early to start thinking about senior living.
What types of senior housing are available?
As you conduct research on senior living, you will find there are multiple housing types to choose from, such as nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, independent living, and home health care. Each type of housing is unique and offers different benefits.
In nursing homes, seniors become residents due to an incident that has caused their health to decline. Nursing homes provide more hands-on support with activities of daily living, such as personal hygiene (bathing and grooming), dressing, feeding, ambulating (ability to change from one position to the other), and continence management. Medical treatment is typically administered on site through in-house or visiting medical staff (i.e. doctors). Nursing homes are often for people who need around-the-clock care and have more complex medical issues.
In assisted living, seniors become residents for many reasons, including the need to downsize, social stimulation, and assistance with activities of daily living. Assisted living communities can be a great option for someone transitioning to a retirement lifestyle, where everyday tasks such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and utilities are included. Residents in assisted living communities traditionally stay longer. In some assisted living communities, you may also find supportive rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy and exercise programs.
Independent living is for adults 55 and older who are more physically independent and can provide for their own needs, but who would still like to have the conveniences of a senior living community, such as housekeeping and maintenance, dining, social activities, and security. Independent living residents have generally active lifestyles, may have their own vehicle to drive to appointments, and often require less medical attention.
For seniors with advanced decline in memory loss, memory care offers a safe solution. Memory care neighborhoods are usually housed in assisted living communities and offer services such as 24-hour supervision by staff who are trained in caring for the needs and demands of seniors with dementia, providing more focused activities, and creating an environment designed to ensure safety and security.
Home Health Care
In home health, care is administered from the comfort of an elder’s home and the services can be considered just as good as those in a skilled nursing facility. Common services include physical therapy, checking blood pressure, coordinating care, providing health education, and making sure the senior is taking their medications in the appropriate way.
Why is senior living expensive?
When moving to a senior living community, there are a myriad of services, support, and amenities available to assist your loved one in their day-to-day lives. Not only do seniors receive care from a trained medical team, they also receive need-based support from caregivers, individualized care plans, nutritious meals that accommodate their dietary preferences, an active social life with new friends, and activities that stimulate them physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Not to mention, they get these services in a safe and comforting environment.
What are the different ways to pay for senior living?
Each type of senior housing has varying costs and includes factors such as location, the type of care or support needed, and the features or amenities offered.
Some families simply pay for senior living out of pocket. It’s not unusual to find families dividing up the cost, with each member paying a designated portion of the bill.
Long-term Care Insurance
It’s predicted that seven out of ten people will need some type of long-term care support. Long-term care is defined as the care you or your loved one may need if you are unable to perform duties such as eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, or using the bathroom.
Long-term care insurance policies cover the cost of care and often offer services that aren’t provided by regular health insurance companies. Long-term care insurance is not something you want to wait to get—most seniors purchase the policy in their mid-50s to 60s.
Medicare is a federally funded health insurance program for seniors along with people under 65 who qualify due to certain disabilities. According to Elderlaw Answers, “Medicare only covers ‘acute’ care as opposed to custodial (non-medical) care. This means it covers care only for people who are likely to recover from their conditions, not care for people who need ongoing help with performing everyday activities.”
Different from Medicare, Medicaid is a public assistance program based primarily on financial need and covers custodial and nursing home care. As reported by Investopedia, “Custodial care can be provided in a skilled nursing facility if you’re there for a recuperative stay following a stroke or accident. It can also be provided at home, as a way to avoid being admitted to a nursing home, or for some period before a nursing home becomes the best option.”
Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefits
If your loved one is a veteran, they may be eligible to receive benefits that assist with paying for senior living. As reported by Aging Care, “The Aid & Attendance Pension, also known as A&A, is an ongoing, tax-free payment made to veterans (or surviving spouses based on their financial and functional status as well as their late veteran’s service record).”
In addition, “A&A funds are paid directly to qualifying veterans, and they may use this money to pay expenses as they choose. This pension is intended to help seniors offset the costs of long-term care. It can be used to pay for medical and non-medical home care, medical and non-medical care in independent living communities, and for care in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.” To receive the benefits, a veteran must qualify.
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As you move forward in the senior living journey, it’s important to know the various financing options available. At Provision Living, we’re here to help every step of the way and address any questions you may have. We encourage you to connect with one of our care consultants today.
Please note: This article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute as financial advice. If you need financial guidance, please consult a trained professional.
About the Author
Aleshia serves as the digital and social media manager for Provision Living Senior Communities. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis and a master's degree in communication arts from Webster University.