How Much Does Dallas Assisted Living Cost?

Dallas has dozens of assisted living options for people who need a hand with daily activities. Before you can make an informed choice, you need to know how much you can expect to pay now and in the future as well as what you’ll get for your money. Here’s a rundown of assisted living services, costs, and ways to cover them.

“Assisted living” describes a set of services provided to residents who need some daily help but don’t need more costly skilled nursing care. Assisted living services include:

help with activities of daily living (bathing or showering safely, getting dressed, personal grooming, etc.);

reminders to take medication on schedule and to attend prescribed physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions;

transportation to and from the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, worship services, and other places;

preparation, serving and cleanup of healthy meals and snacks; and

regular housekeeping and linen laundry service.

Assisted living can happen in different settings. Seniors who want to remain in their own homes may hire a home health aide and housekeeper to visit or live in. Some group homes offer assisted living in residential neighborhoods.

Many assisted living communities are set up with individual apartments and group dining halls, fitness and art centers, and common outdoor areas. Some “continuum of care” communities offer assisted living plus independent living and skilled nursing care to support residents when their health status changes.

Fast facts on assisted living in Dallas

There are more than 120 state-licensed assisted living facilities in Dallas.

These facilities range from small homes with 4 beds to large campuses with more than 100 beds.

The state of Texas classifies all licensed assisted living facilities as Type A or Type B.

Type A communities are for residents who can independently follow instructions during an emergency and don’t need regular check-ins while they sleep.

Type B communities are for residents who would need help and supervision during an emergency and need overnight check-ins.

How much does assisted living cost in Dallas?

Assisted living care prices in Dallas run a bit above the national median. In 2015, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, a year in a Dallas assisted living community had a median price of $46,722 and prices were rising by 5% per year. Nationwide, the median yearly rate was $43,200 and going up 2% per year.

In 2015, hiring full-time help was at the home cost of $43,472 per year in Dallas. Genworth based its Dallas rates on prices in all 13 Metroplex counties, so these figures include prices in Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Garland, and Irving.

Questions to ask about costs

When you research and compare assisted living options, there are lots of questions you’ll need to ask. Among them are questions about what you’re getting for your money, what services are available for extra charges, the terms of service, and what happens if you or your loved one needs a sudden change in care.

In particular, make sure to ask:

Does the assisted living community offer a continuum of care? If so, are different care levels priced at different rates?

Can you see the service provider’s consumer disclosure form explaining services offered, fees, additional expenses, and move-in and move-out policies?

Can you see a copy of the residency agreement?

Are there any public or non-profit programs that can help cover residents’ expenses?

Are the policies on billing, payment, and credit fair and easy to understand?

Does the provider accept long-term care insurance?

Does the provider accept Medicaid?

Can you see a written refund and transfer policy?

Do residents need a renters’ insurance policy?

Can guests spend the night and if so, is there a fee?  

What’s included in the standard meal plan? Does it include snacks?

Can residents bring guests to meals, and if so, is there a fee?

What housekeeping services are included in the monthly fee?

What transportation options does the community provide, and what are the fees?

What grooming and beauty services are available onsite, and what do they cost?

What utilities are included in the rental fee, and which are extra?

If pets are welcome, is there a pet deposit on move-in or an extra cleaning fee on move-out?

These questions are adapted from the Assisted Living Federation of America’s Guide to Choosing an Assisted Living Community.

Ways to save money on assisted living

There are ways to reduce your expenses without reducing the quality of your care. First, decide whether it costs less to get assisted living services in your own home or to move into an assisted living community. For homeowners who haven’t paid off their mortgage, whose homes need expensive repairs, or who live where property taxes are high, selling the home and moving to an assisted living center may make the most financial sense. (Whether it makes the most emotional sense is another matter, of course). If the home is paid off, easy to navigate and not costing a lot in upkeep, in-home services may make more sense.

Another option is getting a roommate and sharing the cost of care. Not all assisted living communities offer this option, but at those which do, you may be able to split the monthly rent with a friend or relative who also needs some help. If so, a written agreement that you both understand and accept is a must.

If you have very low income and limited assets, you may be eligible for sliding-scale rates at assisted living facilities that offer affordable housing. Many non-profit-run assisted living communities will consider this type of request.

Ways to pay for assisted living care

Seniors who qualify for Medicaid or for the VA Aid & Attendance pension can use those funds to pay for assisted living. Long-term care insurance policies usually cover assisted living services. If you or your family member has a long-term care policy, make sure you understand the coverage and payout limits before you shop for communities or in-home assistance.

Homeowners may decide to sell their home and use the proceeds to pay for assisted living; those with a spouse remaining in the home may want to consider a reverse mortgage instead of selling. This type of loan frees up equity in the home to pay for care. It also requires careful consideration and a consultation with a HUD-certified counselor.

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