Change is inevitable as you get older and one of the bigger changes is how you go about your daily routine. What might have been second nature before becomes a little bit more difficult now and you may find that you need a little extra help. However, you don’t want to move into a nursing home just yet, and you don’t have to with assisted living services. This guide will help you understand the ins and outs of assisted living as well as the costs associated with it.
In general terms, assisted living refers to services offered to seniors who need extra help with daily tasks but aren’t ready to move into a skilled nursing facility with constant supervision. As you can imagine, this covers a lot of different services that include things like:
Getting out of bed, getting dressed, bathing, and other personal grooming tasks Planning out and making meals for the day Cleaning and maintaining the house Transportation to appointments, errands, and other daily outings Changing sheets and linens and doing laundry
These are just a few services and each care plan is unique to your needs. This can include how or where you receive assisted living services. Many people prefer to stay in their own home and hire an in-home health aide to take care of them. Others prefer to move into an assisted living community.
Assisted living communities try to give their residents a certain level of independence by allowing them to live in their own space like a house or an apartment. That way you can have your private life and still get assistance when you need it. These communities also typically have a central community center that allows you to take part in different classes, entertainment, and social activities.
In Denver County, about 75% of seniors rated their physical health as either good or excellent.
50% of seniors said there were plenty of available and affordable healthcare options.
35% of seniors said they had fallen at least once in their own home and only 2% have spent at least one day in a long-term care facility.
The biggest concern among Denver County seniors was being able to accomplish their daily tasks like walking, eating, and preparing meals.
While assisted living costs are high everywhere in the country, Denver tends to be a little higher than the national average. In 2015, the average cost for assisted living facilities in the U.S. was $43,200 and in Denver it was $51,000. One of the reasons this cost is a little higher is that this number is an average of Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood.
In-home health care was also a little more expensive and the average cost was between $50,300 to $52,600. This includes both homemaker services and home health aides. All of these numbers are expected to increase by at least 1% and as much as 3% over the next five years.
One of the best ways to find out about costs and potentially save money is to ask as many questions as you can. The more you know about all services and fees the better understanding you’ll have about your total cost. This list of questions here is just to get you started and you can find the complete list on the website for Assisted Living Federation of America.
What are the billing, payment, and credit policies? Can I see a list of all services and their costs? Are housekeeping services included in the fees? What is the standard meal plan and is that included? What is the policy on guests and pets? If my care needs change can extra services be requested? Are utilities extra? Do I have to purchase renter’s insurance? Do you accept Medicaid or long-term care insurance?
Again, these are just a few of the questions and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask as many as possible. You want to feel comfortable in your new environment and you don’t want your bill to have any surprise charges or fees.
The best tip is to do a lot of research beforehand. Based on your needs, figure out whether in-home care or care at a facility is less expensive. You might find that because you own your home and it doesn’t require a lot of upkeep, that you can stay in your house and have health aides come to you to provide their services.
On the other hand, if you still have a mortgage and your house is just too much for you to handle, moving to an assisted living community might be the better option. If you do go this route, you can save money by considering a roommate. This could cut your costs in half and as long as you both have a written agreement about the living arrangement, it should be fine.
You have a few options when it comes to payment for assisted living. If you’re a low-income senior you can look into applying for Medicaid or seeing if the facility you have chosen offers affordable housing on a sliding-rate scale. If you have long-term care insurance, you should talk to your agent to see exactly what the policy covers.
Veterans have the option of using their VA benefits to cover long-term care costs and Social Security benefits might also help. Homeowners can look into selling or renting their house for extra cash to pay for their care, or try a reverse mortgage as long as it is with the help of a trusted financial advisor.
Find assisted living in Denver near you.