After you reach retirement, you have some important decisions to make. One of those choices will be about your long-term care. Assisted living is a great option for many seniors because it can cover a wide variety of services and fit into your schedule and lifestyle. You want to make sure you understand everything about these kinds of services and this guide should give you a general overview about what assisted living entails.
When you hear assisted living, you might think that it means a nursing home or another kind of intensive health care. The term “assisted living” covers services that help seniors with their daily tasks but doesn’t include 24/7 monitoring or health care. Because services can vary from person to person, here are just a few things you might get with assisted living:
Housecleaning services like mopping, vacuuming, dusting, or any other general organization.
Meal preparation services which could include planning, shopping for, and making meals.
Laundry services including fresh linens when needed.
Transportation services to appointments, errands, or daily outings.
Reminders to take medication and do therapy that helps with medical issues.
Personal grooming services that include bathing and getting dressed.
Assistance with getting around the house.
These are just a few services offered, and if you need more or less, you can create a care plan with your provider. Another benefit to assisted living is that you can choose to have it in your home. Homemakers and home health aides are just two of the types of people you can have come to your house and assist you with your daily needs.
Assisted living facilities are also an option, and if you would prefer to move, this might work best for you. Facilities can be set up in a few different ways. Many offer private residences like homes or apartments and have a group center where they serve meals and host activities. There are also communities that have shared living spaces and communal areas for residents. Amenities like fitness classes, outings, and swimming pools are often another feature of assisted living facilities.
All assisted living facilities in California must meet and comply with a set of standards and regulations enforced by the Department of Social Services.
Both staff and administrators in assisted living facilities must comply with a training and ongoing education requirement to work in the facility.
59% of seniors in Orange County are concerned with maintaining their personal health, and 51% are worried about not having transportation services.
Anaheim has over 20 assisted living facilities, and Orange County has a significant portion of the state’s facilities.
If you ask, a facility must show you their latest inspection report that will show any problems or complaints they have received.
Cost is an important factor for many seniors when they consider what type of care to get. There are a few factors that go into determining prices such as location, how often you need care, and what kind of care you use. The costs for assisted living services and facilities in Anaheim tend to be higher than national averages.
The Genworth Cost of Care Survey in 2016 estimated that the national average for an assisted living facility was $43,539 per year. In Anaheim, the average for assisted living facilities was $48,000 per year. The national averages for in-home care put homemakers at $45,760 and home health aides at $46,332 annually. The cost for both homemakers and home health aides in Anaheim was $48,620.
While the expenses in Anaheim are higher than national averages, the good news is that costs aren’t expected to rise much over the next few years. Assisted living facility costs might go up about 1%, but homemakers and home health aide prices should stay relatively steady. As long as you look around, you should be able to find a facility or provider that will fit your budget as well as your needs.
Because assisted living facilities and providers can vary from place to place, it’s important to do some research to find the best place to meet your needs. You need to know what your costs will cover, the different kinds of services offered, and what the policies for each include. Having a set of questions to ask can help you learn as much as possible about each facility or provider.
These are just a few questions you can ask:
What services does my cost include?
What are the extra services and their prices?
What are the amenities and which cost extra?
Can I see the residency agreement?
Can I see the provider’s consumer disclosure?
Do I have to go through an assessment to be accepted to the facility?
Do you take Medicaid?
Do you accept long-term care insurance?
Are there programs to help me cover costs?
Are utilities included or an extra fee?
Is there someone on staff 24/7?
Will I have a written out care plan?
What food is on the meal plan?
Can I have overnight guests?
Are pets allowed and do they cost extra?
You can find more questions like these at the Assisted Living Federation of America’s Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Community.
The cost of long-term care is high, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the means to save. The first thing you should do is determine whether in-home care or a facility is a better financial option. While the averages for these costs in Anaheim are relatively close, it will depend on your situation.
If your home is completely paid for and you don’t have to do a lot to maintain it, then in-home care might be the way to go. If you still make payments on your house and it needs a lot of repairs or upkeep, moving into a facility might be a better idea.
Another way to save some money is to get a roommate and cut costs in half. If your community allows it, it’s worth a try. Try living with your roommate for a month or so to see if it’s something you can do long-term and if it works out, and be sure to sign a lease and agreement.
If you’re on an extremely low budget, then you might want to ask if the facility would offer their services at a sliding-scale rate. This usually only works with affordable housing options or non-profit run facilities, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Medicaid could help cover costs as long as you’re a low-income senior. If you’re a veteran, look at your VA benefits and see if they offer assisted living coverage. Many places will also accept long-term care insurance so if you already have a policy, check the coverage and see if that will work for you.
Your home could also be another source of finances for your care. If you own your house, you can sell it or rent it out to cover the cost of your care. If you don’t own it, you can look into a reverse mortgage. This option does come with some risks, so you will need to meet with a HUD-certified counselor.
Find assisted living in Anaheim near you.