If you’re beginning to realize that you can’t do the things you used to with ease anymore, you might be considering getting help with your daily tasks. Assisted living offers a wide range of services and you can create a plan that fits your needs and schedule. Los Angeles has dozens of services that you can use that will help you go about your day safely and comfortably.
So what is assisted living and just how much is that going to cost? This guide will cover a few of the basic questions including cost, how to pay, how to save, and what you should look for when seeking out assisted living services.
The first thing you should know is what’s covered under the term assisted living. There are a few different types of assisted living, but in general, these services are for those who need a helping hand to go about their day but don’t need 24/7 supervision. This can include things like:
Running errands such as grocery shopping or going to the bank
Light housekeeping like vacuuming, dusting and washing dishes
You can get assisted living services in your own home or you can choose to move into a facility or community that will have staff on hand to help you with whatever you need. Even if you decide that you want to move and live in an assisted living community, you don’t have to give up your privacy or independence. Many communities allow you to have your own house or apartment and then have a group center where you can take part in social activities like classes, fitness, and entertainment.
Los Angeles County has almost 2,000 health care facilities in the area and hundreds dedicated to assisted living services.
There are regular inspections every five years on each facility to make sure they are meeting the highest standards and you can contact a surveyor if you think your facility is not up to code.
California has a group that rates each care facility so that you can know which ones perform at above average levels.
The average stay in an assisted living facility is 28.3 months
When you look at both the national average for assisted living and the average here in Los Angeles, Los Angeles comes in a bit higher. In 2015, the average cost in the U.S. was $43,200 and here in Los Angeles it was $45,600. Keep in mind that is just an average and your total cost could be higher or lower than that. Also, expect that cost to increase by about 2% over the next five years.
In-home health services in Los Angeles were a little higher at $48,620 for homemaker services and $49,764 for home health aide. Again these numbers are dependent on a lot of factors and will increase over the next five years.
While cost is a very important part of your search for an assisted living facility, there are so many other factors to consider. If you have never had to look for long-term health care, you might not have a clue where to start. The Assisted Living Federation of America is a great resource where you start evaluating facilities and find questions that can help you narrow your search.
Here are just a few questions that are adapted from their guide and you can find many more on their website:
Does the provider accept long-term insurance policies or Medicaid?
What does the standard meal plan look like and can it be supplemented with snacks or outside food?
What is the policy on guests and can they stay overnight?
What is the policy on pets?
Can I see the yearly inspection report?
Will I need renter’s insurance?
As you look at each facility you will probably think of more questions. Don’t be afraid to ask because you want to be as informed as possible so you feel comfortable with your care plan.
The price for long-term care is high no matter where you go and those costs are only going to get bigger. There are a few ways that you can cut your costs and save as much money as possible while still getting the best care.
First, look at your situation and see which would be more cost effective for you, in-home care or moving. If your house is in disrepair, you still have a mortgage, and you can’t safely move around anymore, it might be better to move into a new facility. If your home is paid off and doesn’t require much upkeep, in-home care could be best.
If you do move, you can look into the possibility of getting a roommate to share the cost of the room. This can cut your bill in half easily and allow you to get the benefits of an assisted living community without the high cost. There are also grants and programs for low-income seniors that might help cover a portion of your cost, just ask each facility what their policy is and if there is extra financial help you could get.
If you purchased a long-term care insurance policy, now is the time to use it. Talk to your agent and see what it covers and make sure you know that your care will be covered. Low-income seniors can look to Medicaid and if they meet the requirements could have some of their cost covered. Veterans should look into their VA benefits and see if they have long-term care coverage.
If none of those options work and you have your own home, you could look into a reverse mortgage. Be sure to check with a financial advisor because reverse mortgages can have ramifications in the long run.
Find assisted living in Los Angeles near you.