Charleston is a great place for seniors to live and retire, but at some point, older adults are going to need some assistance. While you might not need intensive care, you might find you need extra help around the house. Charleston, like many cities, has a variety of home care options as well as community or assisted living options. Use this guide to learn about your choices and build a care plan.
Most seniors are concerned with the cost of care because it does tend to be relatively high. In most cases, Charleston is right in line with national averages for care costs, but there are a few options that are a little more.
The Genworth Cost of Care Survey for 2016 is a good way to see the cost of most care options in the area. In Charleston, both homemakers and home health aides cost about $46,904 per year, which is higher than the national average of $45,760 for homemakers and $46,332 annually. Adult day care programs in Charleston cost about $15,860 per year, which is a few thousand dollars less than the national average of $17,680.
Nursing homes in Charleston are also less expensive than the national averages. A semi-private room averages $77,015, and private room averages $88,330 per year. Nationally, those costs are $82,125 and $92,378 per year. Assisted living in Charleston is about $48,420, which is more than the national average of $43,539.
These costs are just averages, so if you’re worried that senior care is too expensive, you can find providers in your area that are less expensive and fit your budget. You should also keep in mind that these costs will go up over the next five years. Most care options are expected to rise anywhere from 1 to 4% over the next five years.
The wonderful thing about senior care is the ability to choose the kind of care you need and can afford no matter whether you want to stay in your home or move to a new community. Care options keep growing and expanding to meet the needs of the growing retirement age community. Here are some of the choices here in Charleston that should help you get a better idea of what’s available.
If you want to stay in your home, there are quite a lot of choices for home care. You can choose a private provider, use community services, or create a custom plan that uses both these options.
Some seniors just need help taking care of their home, and that’s where homemakers come in. These people will clean your house, do your laundry, plan and cook your meals, and even run errands if needed. Some providers like ComForCare Home Care Senior Services and Home Care Assistance will also provide incidental transportation and medication reminders.
A home health aide provides more medical specific care than a homemaker. Providers like Maxim Healthcare can take care of wounds, make wheelchair transfers, check vital signs, and monitor medical conditions.
An adult day program can be helpful for seniors who need some supervision or activity during the day. Most programs allow seniors to interact with other seniors and also provide outings, activities, and a meal. You can even find programs that are unique to diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Seniors can also benefit from concierge services. These are services that can help with certain things like dog walking or running errands. Try sites like Rover, Favor, TaskRabbit, Handy, and Porch to find what you need.
It’s important that you choose a provider that not only fits your budget but also meets your specific needs. Make sure to do some research while looking for a provider and ask plenty of questions. These are just a few questions you should ask each place.
Do you provide all of the training for your employees?
Do you have a screening process or background check?
What are your licenses to provide care in Charleston?
Are you insured and bonded?
What happens if my care provider can’t make it due to illness or weather?
Home care isn’t your only choice, and if you would rather move to a different community or a facility, there are plenty of options. You can live in an independent community with minimal care or find a home geared to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
You should consider living in an independent community if you don’t need constant monitoring or care. These are most often called retirement villages and allow seniors to have a private home and enjoy amenities like swimming pools, daily outings, onsite shops, and fitness centers.
Assisted living is along the same lines as an independent community but if you need help with daily tasks or assistance with your help that is available. You can have a private residence or a semi-private home based on your needs and budget.
A nursing home can provide medical care for seniors on a short or long-term basis. Doctors and nurses on staff provide care, therapy, and other procedures as needed.
If you have Alzheimer’s or another dementia-related illness, dementia care is your best bet. These facilities are like nursing homes but offer more security, so there is less wandering. They also have treatments, therapy, and activities specifically for cognitive function.
What are services and amenities included in the cost?
What is the cost of extra services?
Is it possible to use an outside provider, like a concierge provider?
Can I have pets?
Are overnight guests allowed?
Are there transportation options?
There is a good chance that you won’t have to pay entirely out of pocket for senior care due to benefits and financial assistance. The only exclusion is independent communities, and there are several financial options. A retirement account can help as well as Social Security payments and even a reverse mortgage if you fully understand the risks. As for other types of care, you can use Medicare if you’re a low-income senior or VA benefits if you’re a retired military member or widow of a veteran.
Retirement might seem a little daunting to some seniors because they have so much free time on their hands. Luckily, Charleston has plenty to offer their older members. You can check out the Lowcountry Senior Center to find a variety of activities. You can take part in fitness classes, arts, crafts, educational opportunities, and weekly social outings. If you want to spend some of your time volunteering, Charleston RSVP is an excellent choice. This program connects seniors with volunteer opportunities throughout their city.
Find assisted living in Charleston near you.