An Assisted Living facility is a significant expenditure for any family. The cost can be quite high. Often a family is faced with a hard dilemma and decisions that at many times seem endless. The time to transition a family member may have already been determined, but the financial burden is so great, that this can cause delay and uncertainty in moving forward.
Add to the fact the ever-rising costs of senior care, and the price can be overwhelming. Some families are able to pay for senior care out of pocket, while some qualify for Medicaid. Whatever the situation, finding an affordable assisted living facility may in many instances seem overwhelming and impossible.
As you traverse the many options available to you, here are some suggestions to help reduce the high costs of moving to the next step and selecting a facility right for you.
#1: Start the Discussion Early
Families should anticipate the possibility of needing an assisted living facility. It is never too early to visit and shop around. It is useful to know the pricing and types of facilities available. Some assisted living communities have a waiting list, so finding the right place should involve some preparation with both the senior and family members.
By discussing options and planning ahead you are getting a loved one involved early in the process which is essential. This can help make the move a little easier and less reactionary. Having an honest discussion with seniors about their physical needs and their financial circumstances will help guide the process. A clear understanding of your budget is needed to make the decision. When paying out of pocket, it is common for families to establish regular contributions to help pay the monthly fees for senior living.
#2: Review Medicaid & Veteran Benefits
Medicaid: Familiarize yourself with the items Medicaid will cover by consulting state Medicaid authorities. It is important to note that not all assisted living communities accept Medicaid, so do not assume that your community will do so. It is a good idea to check in and confirm what the community will or will not accept. It is never too early to gather this information. By planning ahead, you are greatly reducing a future stressful situation.
Veteran's Benefits: If an older adult served in the military or had a spouse who did so, the Veterans Administration may be able to provide guidance on whether assisted living benefits are available. The requirements for receiving these benefits are quite specific, so it is a good idea to check on eligibility as soon as possible.
Life Insurance: In some cases, it is possible to use life insurance to help pay for assisted living. Many insurance companies offer accelerated or living benefits that enable you to cash out a policy for a percentage of its face value in cases of need. Check with your life insurance agent to see if this is an option.
Third-party Settlement Companies: If it is not an option to cash out the policy, you may still be able to put your life insurance to good use by selling the policy to a third-party settlement company that will buy your policy at a percentage of its face value with the agreement that upon the death of policyholder, benefits will be paid to the settlement company.
Once you know the sources of financial aid available, there is still much you can do to reduce assisted living prices.
Here are a few things that can help you lower costs:
• Choose the appropriate living space size. While communities may offer studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom arrangements, you can save significant money by choosing the smallest comfortable option for your loved one.
• Consider sharing. While it may not always be possible, in some assisted living facilities, older adults can choose to share or co-house in a living space. Care must be taken to ensure that the two residents are compatible. If a good match can be found, costs can be shared between two families, resulting in significant savings for both.
• Consider a smaller community. Many smaller assisted living communities offer comparable amenities to larger communities at a fraction of the cost. Doing your homework by investigating all options in your area may result in savings.
• Check out neighboring towns or states. The cost of assisted living can vary widely from place to place. If appropriate, thinking outside the box about location may net serious savings. Considering a location just a few miles away in a neighboring town is worth a comparison.
• Compare all-inclusive packages with a la carte services. Depending on the level of care your loved one needs, it may be advantageous to pick and choose the services utilized rather than paying for an all-inclusive package from the start. All-inclusive packages can be expensive and may not be a good fit in some circumstances.
Assisted living communities are subject to the same financial constraints as other businesses. Therefore, it is sometimes advantageous to time your entrance into a community with the end of the month, quarter, or fiscal year. At such times, many communities are open to price discounts and move-in fee negotiations that can greatly contribute to a cost savings. Time your shopping around these key timeframes to get a feel of what to expect when you are ready to move forward and make a commitment to a facility.
Occupancy level is an important factor to understand when reviewing options for facilities. In some instances, this is a determining factor in how willing a community is to negotiate better pricing. Ask some basic questions on availability and be informed. While this information is not generally available to the public, it is often available to assisted living referral services. Using a referral service will get you access to valuable information about communities that are willing to negotiate. All living facilities have occupancy targets and you are part of the equation in helping a business meet its goals.
Making a final decision about an Assisted Living facility can be difficult, and sometimes having a professional advisor, also known as senior living locators, is the right move. Senior living locators typically work at no cost to you and can eliminate a lot of the stress, making the process practically painless. Locators know there facilities very well and are senior living experts that understand the many components of selecting the right facility within your budget. It is crucial to communicate what your requirements are in your search for an Assisted Living facility. The advisor will conduct an interview with you and your family and learn what is important to you. They will then help you with the process and match your budget to the right senior living location.
In summary, when making the decision to move forward with a transition to an Assisted Living facility be sure to plan ahead and consider options available. An informed decision goes a long way and can help you and your family reduce the costs and uncertainty of moving forward.
If you are interest in moving forward with a senior living locator, review our listings for senior living locators in your area on our website at www.TexasSeniorsGuides.com.