San Diego offers some great options when it comes to assisted living and it might be more affordable than you think. However, what services are covered under assisted living and what is it going to cost you in the long run? This guide will help you learn everything that you need to know about the cost of assisted living as well as what questions to ask and how to save money when looking at facilities.
As you get older, you might have noticed that you have trouble doing everyday tasks without a little help. Assisted living include services that are offered to people who need help daily but don’t require the constant supervision and help of a skilled nursing facility. Assisted living can look different for each person, but in general, you can find services that will:
Help with transportation around town or to medical appointments Help with meal planning and preparation Help with light housekeeping that could include dusting, mopping, and laundry Help with getting dressed in the morning or other personal grooming tasks
These services can be performed in your own home with a healthcare professional and many seniors prefer to stay in their house for as long as possible but that isn’t always possible. If you find that you need to move into a facility, you will be pleased to know that many assisted living communities still allow you to have your own living space, whether it’s a house or apartment, while getting the benefit of having staff on hand to help.
Assisted living facilities in California are inspected every five years to make sure they are up to code
The average age of residents in assisted living is 87 years old and the average stay in a facility is 28.3 months
About 70% of the residents came from their own home and the rest transferred from another assisted living facility
Most seniors pay for assisted living with private funds but Medi-Cal (Medicaid) does cover about 5%
California tends to be more expensive for most things, but the average cost of assisted living in 2015 was about $42,000 which is lower than the national average of $43,200. Take into account that this is an average of the San Diego and Carlsbad area and while this number is lower, it is expected to increase over the next five years by about 1%.
If you are more interested in in-home health care, those costs were a little higher in the San Diego area. Homemaker services cost an average of $51,366 and home health aides cost an average of $51,480. Again, these are averages and you can find services in San Diego that are both higher and lower than this cost.
You’re going to put a lot of time and research into finding the right assisted living facility for you and one of the things you should do is come up with a list of questions to ask each place you look at. Sometimes there can be fees or costs that you don’t know about and you don’t want to be hit with any surprise charges once your bill has arrived.
The Assisted Living Federation of America has a very detailed evaluation guide on their website that can help you as you start looking around. Here are a few of the questions from that guide to help you get started and to know what you should ask:
Can I see the consumer disclosure form? What are the move-in and move out provisions? Is there a refund or transfer policy? Is there a written care place for every resident? Is there a continuum of care if my needs change? What is the policy on guests? Can they stay overnight? What is the policy on pets? Are utilities included? Am I allowed to decorate my own apartment? Can I receive hospice care if needed? Are there additional services if my needs change while I’m here?
There are no questions that you should be afraid to ask because you need to get as much information as possible before you make your choice. It’s also a good idea to meet with the director of the facility and go on a tour so you can get a feel for the environment.
While assisted living is an expensive cost, there are a few ways that you can lower the amount of money that you pay and the first thing you should find out is what is least expensive in your area, in-home care or moving to a facility. There are a few factors that could contribute to this decision, most importantly your house. If you’re still paying your mortgage and your house requires a lot of maintenance that you can’t do yourself anymore it might be better to move to an assisted living community.
Once you have made your decision to move to a new community, you can lower the amount you pay by considering a roommate. If you don’t mind living with someone else this can cut your costs in half just make sure you get a written agreement with your new roommate.
It’s also possible that you could pay less if you meet a certain income level requirement. Many facilities that offer affordable housing will let you pay on a sliding-scale that fits your budget needs but talk with the director first.
If you own your home and are moving out, you can consider selling your house or renting it out and using those funds to pay for assisted living. If you still have a mortgage, you can look into a reverse mortgage but that should only be done under the advisement of a financial professional.
A long-term care insurance policy could cover your care costs if you purchased one beforehand. Just talk with you agent to make sure you know exactly what’s covered. For low-income seniors who don’t have insurance, you can apply for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) and use that to help fund your long-term care.
Finally, veterans should check with their local VA office to see what their long-term care benefits are and if there is any extra funding available.
Find assisted living in San Diego near you.