Some seniors are reluctant to admit that then need a helping hand around the house because they fear that means they will have to move into a nursing home. While that might be the case for some older adults, who can no longer take care of themselves, assisted living services are for seniors that just need a little help in their daily lives.
Here, you can learn about the cost of assisted living, how you can pay and save while getting services and questions you should ask. Assisted living refers to a set of services that allow seniors to go about the day mostly on their own while getting help with a few things.
These services could include:
Daily house cleaning like dusting, mopping or vacuuming.
Help with laundry and washing linens.
Reminder to take medication.
Reminder to attend therapy or necessary appointments.
Transportation to doctor appointments, errands, or other scheduled events.
Meal planning and preparation, including clean up of the meal afterward.
Assistance with personal grooming like bathing or getting dressed.
Help to get around the house whether it’s by wheelchair or with a cane/walker.
You can get whatever kind of assistance you need. You can also get assistance any place you would like whether that’s your home or a facility. Homemakers and home health aides can take care of you in the comfort of your home, so you don’t have to leave.
If you would prefer to move into a community, most facilities give you a private residence or a shared room with another senior. Many places have a continuum of care so as your health or needs progress you can still get the type of care you need.
California has hundreds of licensed assisted living facilities and over 30 located in Oakland.
68% of the older adult population in Alameda County lives with family, but there is about 24% that live alone and often suffer injuries due to accidents.
Many seniors who live alone face rising costs. 30% have housing prices that are 30% or more of their total income.
All assisted living facilities must meet safety standards set forth by the state and enforced by the Department of Social Services.
Some facilities in California may charge a fee to assess your needs to enter their facility.
Most long-term care option costs are high, and they keep getting higher. The Oakland area tends to cost more than the national averages for both in-home assistance and assisted living communities.
The national average for assisted living facilities in 2016 was $43,539 per year but that number goes up to $47,670 per year, for the East Bay area. A homemaker costs $45,760 according to the national averages but in Oakland that cost is $57,200. That is the same cost for a home health aide in Oakland, which is much higher than the $46,332 national average.
The other fact to keep in mind is that these prices are only going to rise in the coming years. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey predicts that assisted living facility costs will increase by 1% and in-home care will rise 2% to 4%. Make sure to look around and find a provider that not only fits your budget but your needs as well.
You need to do your research when it comes to assisted living, whether you’re getting in-home care or moving into a facility. You need to know what your money will cover, the services you will get, and what will happen if something changes.
Here are just a few sample questions to get you started:
What are all of the personal care services available?
What does my cost include?
What is the cost of any extra services or amenities?
Are utilities included in my rent?
Am I allowed to have outside providers come in and care for me?
What is the policy on guests and am I allowed to have overnight guests?
Are pets permitted and if so, will I be charged a fee?
Can I have a copy of the resident’s agreement?
May I see the provider’s consumer disclosure?
What happens if there is an emergency and I need a different type of care?
What are all policies on medication, administering drugs, and storing medicine?
What is the transportation schedule and where are the stops?
What does the meal plan look like?
What onsite services are available?
Are there housekeeping services and what are they?
You can find more questions like this in the Assisted Living Federation of America’s Guide To Choosing An Assisted Living Community.
You don’t have to choose between money and getting quality care; you just have to weigh your options and choose the best route for you and your budget. Take a look at in-home care costs and facility costs to see which would give you bigger savings. Consider whether you own your home, if it’s in good condition, or if you find it hard to keep up. If you can’t take care of your house and still owe money, a facility might be a smarter choice. If you own your house and don’t have to work hard to maintain it, then in-home care could be better.
You might also consider getting a roommate if you decide on a facility. If you don’t mind the idea of living with another person, give it a trial run for a month or so. If your community has no rules against roommates and you can both agree on terms and conditions, this is a good way to cut your costs in half.
A sliding-scale rate could be helpful if you’re a very low-income senior. You can always ask the facility if they are willing to operate this way and most non-profit places will at least consider this option.
Once you decide on the type of assistance you want, you have a few options on how to pay for it. Medicaid and VA benefits will take care of most assisted living costs. You could also use long-term insurance as long as it’s in your plan.
Selling your home or using a reverse mortgage to fund your care is another option. If you decide to do the reverse mortgage, you will need to meet with a HUD-certified counselor who will make sure you understand all the risks that come with this option.
Find assisted living in Oakland near you.