If you’re concerned about the high cost of long-term care in this country, you’re not alone. Many seniors have to face the reality of not being able to afford the care that they need. Assisted living is one of the long-term care options that can give you a personal plan that will meet both your health and financial needs and St. Louis has great access to facilities and services.
While assisted living can look very different across the board, in general, assisted living provides services to help seniors complete daily tasks that they can no longer do on their own but don’t need the attention of a skilled nursing facility. Assisted living services can help you with many different things and can include:
Meal planning and preparations
Transportation to medical appointments or errands around your neighborhood
Bathing, getting dressed, going to the bathroom or other personal grooming tasks
Housekeeping that could include dusting, mopping, washing the dishes, and laundry services.
Basically, anything that you might need assistance with can be covered under assisted living services. You also have the option of getting these services in your own home or moving to a community where the staff will provide you with all the help that you need.
While you might not want to leave your home or feel like you’re giving up your independence, many assisted living communities allow you to live in your own home, apartment, or room to keep some level of autonomy. You can also get the benefit of being a part of a community and taking part in things like art classes, religious services, entertainment, and other amenities.
Missouri has a directory of long-term care facilities for each county
Each facility is evaluated at least once per year to make sure they meet certain standards and requirements.
Missouri has an ombudsman program for seniors that will provide advocates for residents in care facilities that might have complaints or problems
The Department of Health and Senior Services has a page on their website dedicated to finding the right facility for your needs.
Genworth conducted a Care Cost Survey in 2015 and found that the average cost of assisted living in the U.S. was $43,200. St. Louis is right in line with that cost at about $44,000 annually. This number is just an average and you can find lower and higher costs all around the St. Louis area, but keep in mind that this cost is most likely going to increase over the next five years by as much as 5%.
For in-home care costs, you can expect to pay between $44,000 and $45,000 for both homemaker services and home health aides. These costs might rise slightly in the next few years but not too much.
Since costs are so high, it’s important that you know everything you can about each facility that you look at. There can be a few fees that might not be apparent, so it’s better to know all associated fees before you move so that you don’t encounter any surprises.
Here are just a few questions adapted from the extensive guide that the Assisted Living Federation of America has compiled:
What does the standard meal plan look like? Can I supplement with snacks or outside food?
What is the policy on pets?
Can I have guests and are they allowed to stay overnight?
Is there a continuum of care?
Am I allowed to have hospice services come in?
What are the different apartment sizes?
What grooming or beauty services are available?
What are the transportation options?
Can I see a list of all services and their cost?
Again, these are just a few questions to get you started and you should make sure that you ask every question you think of because you want to feel comfortable and safe in your new environment. You also want to make sure that all of your needs will be met.
Now that you know the cost and have possibly chosen a facility, it’s important to look into a few ways to save money. The first thing you should do is weigh the pros and cons of the two different kinds of assisted living, in-home care, or at a facility. Which one is least expensive in your area?
Also, is it physically and financially possible for you to stay in your home? Or, do you still pay a mortgage and have a long list of daily chores to maintain your house? If that’s the case, it might be better to move into an assisted living community.
A roommate or semi-private room can also help lower your overall cost. It also doesn’t hurt to find out if there are grants or other programs you qualify for that will help lower your personal cost. Some facilities offer a sliding-scale rate to help you get the care you need, just ask the director.
Long-term insurance can come in handy right now. If you already have a policy, talk with your agent to see what’s covered. If you’re a low-income senior you could qualify for Medicaid and veterans qualify for long-term coverage with their VA benefits.
Another place to look for money is in your home. If you own it and are planning on moving, you can sell your home or rent it out and use those funds for your care. You could possibly do a reverse mortgage as long as you talk with a trusted financial advisor about all the possible consequences from that option.
Find assisted living in Saint Louis near you.