What Does Senior Care Cost?
Ask a group of family members or friends about the challenges they faced while finding care for their parents or senior loved ones, as I did recently, and one of the things they’ll mention is difficulty learning what senior care will cost. One friend said to me, “I want to see costs online. We’ve had to actually visit every place we’re interested in to find that out.”
While visiting the senior living communities you’re interested in is an important part of the decision-making process, there are some online resources that will give you a clearer idea of senior care costs.
1. A SeniorAdvisor.com account.
SeniorAdvisor.com has lots of information on individual senior living communities all across North America. When signing up for a free SeniorAdvisor.com user account with your email and a password, you can see rates at each property as reported by family members and residents. In some cases, you’ll see reported rates for different room types, such as one and two-bedroom apartments and semi-private suites.
While you’re checking out prices, you can also see each community’s list of services and read user reviews to make your comparisons easier. A community with higher monthly rates may be worth the extra money if it has good reviews and provides services your parents or senior loved ones want, like free transportation, onsite physical therapy or pet-friendly accommodations.
2. Genworth’s annual “Cost of Care Survey.”
The Genworth Life Insurance organization annually updates its Cost of Care Survey to provide the latest national and statewide average costs, projected future costs and local costs of senior care for major metropolitan areas. Genworth’s data can help you get a handle on what’s normal for your area and help you compare the cost of senior living in different areas, among other things.
Another way to use Genworth data is to compare different care options in the same area to help your family decide if it makes more financial sense to stay at home or sell the home and move to senior living.
3. Visiting a senior living community in-person.
Once you’ve narrowed your list with your online research, the ultimate pricing tool is the in-person visit. Community staff should be able to give you up-to-date details of deposit and lease costs in writing, along with a list of services that are included in the monthly fee and those that are add-ons. You can also ask if the community accepts Medicaid or Veterans Aid & Attendance funds, and find out if the community is willing to work with you while your parents are applying for those programs.