Dallas Assisted Living

Moving from your current home to assisted living is a big change. You may be wondering about costs, what daily life will be like, how to find the best place and how to pay for it all. The good news is that assisted living rates in Dallas are in line with median costs nationwide, there are communities to suit different lifestyles in neighborhoods around the city, and it may not be as hard to pay for as you expect. Let’s take a look at what Dallas has to offer.

What does assisted living cost in Dallas?

Dallas is a little more expensive than the national median for assisted living. Nationwide, the median cost of care is $3,600 per month; in the Metroplex (the 13-county area including Dallas and Fort Worth) it’s $3,894. 

However, the local rates vary quite a bit by location. SeniorAdvisor.com currently has listings for Dallas-area assisted living providers with monthly rates ranging from $806 for a studio apartment at a Christian Care Senior Living campus in Mesquite to as much as $6,300 per month for a private apartment at an upscale senior care center near a popular North Dallas shopping and dining hub. Between those extremes are lots of options.

What to expect in assisted living

In addition to faith-based and luxury options, you can find pet-friendly assisted living centers that welcome your dog or cat along with you. Some, like Sunrise of Plano, are located a short drive from local dog parks (Jack Carter is a popular destination for Plano dogs and their owners). LGBT seniors can find assisted living options like Belmont Village Turtle Creek near Dallas’ Cathedral of Hope, the largest LGBT church in the world. Once you decide what’s important to you in your new home and neighborhood, you’ll probably find it somewhere in the Metroplex.

Finding an assisted living community in Dallas

Once you know what you want and what part of town you’d like to live in, start making a list of possible assisted living communities. Begin by collecting recommendations from friends, neighbors, relatives, and others you know. Then check out the online reviews for those communities and find other highly rated options online. You can also ask a senior living advisor who knows the Dallas area to help you find facilities that match your preferences and budget. These advisors are typically paid by the communities they represent (which can be anywhere from a few to hundreds), so their services are free to seniors and family members. You and your advisor can arrange a visit to the assisted living campuses you’re most interested in seeing.

Make sure you understand what each facility includes in its monthly fee, what services are available at an extra cost, and whether the community offers continuity of care in case your care needs change. It’s a good idea to bring a checklist on each visit so you can take notes and remember to ask certain questions. SeniorAdvisor’s Assisted Living Guidebook contains an extensive list of questions to ask when visiting an assisted living facility, along with other helpful information on paying for care and managing the move to assisted living.

Paying for assisted living

It’s easy to get sticker shock when you shop for assisted living, especially before you compare assisted living costs to the costs you bear while living at home. Assisted living may cost less than it would to hire in-home help while also paying for utility bills, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and routine and major home maintenance projects. If you or your parent will sell your current home to move to assisted living, the proceeds (after fees and taxes) can be used to pay for care. If you don’t have a home to sell, or if you’re keeping your home for a spouse or heirs to live in, you likely have other options for funding assisted living.

Medicaid is the federal-state program for low-income, low-asset seniors who need care. In Texas, Medicaid covers 2/3 of the state’s nursing home residents through managed-care plans approved by the state, most of which provide services beyond what’s available through the standard Medicaid program. To learn more about the current eligibility rules or to apply for Texas Medicaid, visit the Your Texas Benefits web page.

Low-income veterans (and widows of veterans) who served at least one day during wartime may qualify for the VA Aid & Attendance pension to help pay for care. Don’t assume this benefit is only for veterans who saw combat. It’s for anyone who served during that time—and due to federal rules, the definition of wartime usually spans more time than the actual battles did. In Texas, contact the VA’s regional office for information and to apply. The process can take several months, but approval is retroactive to the application date.

Seniors with long-term care insurance can usually pay for a good deal of their assisted living costs with policy payouts. Before you bank on this coverage, check with your agent to clarify what the policy will pay for. Does it cover room and board only or other services as well? Are there payout limits? And how can you make sure you keep your policy current? Older adults who fall seriously ill or develop cognitive problems are at risk for letting their long-term care policies lapse.

Other financial possibilities include taking out a so-called “reverse mortgage” to use the equity in your home to pay for care (as long as your spouse remains in the home) and cashing out a life insurance policy to pay for care. Both of these options have tax and asset ramifications and they can affect your plans to leave an inheritance. Discuss these options thoroughly with your financial planner, your tax professional, and an elder law attorney before you make a decision. Note that Medicare, health insurance and worker’s disability insurance policies don’t cover assisted living costs.

Now that you know what assisted living in Dallas is like in general, you may want to do more research. SeniorAdvisor has put together information to help you find award-winning care providers, explore Dallas neighborhoods in detail, and much more.

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