Assisted Living on a Budget: Getting the Care You Need with Limited Means
Expenses and Cost Structure
Different assisted living facilities have different ways of billing and structuring their costs. In many cases, you may have a “menu-style”setup, where residents can pay individually for services they need, while omitting things they don’t need.
Some facilities charge monthly, like rent. Others have a “buy-in” structure, where you put up a down payment up front and essentially purchase your apartment or condo in the assisted living facility’s complex. Paying a one-time premium is sometimes offered as an option, with lower monthly costs for residents who take that route.
So what are the average monthly expenses? This can vary a lot based on the individual facility. Location and local cost of living plays a major role, as do the specific services that any given resident needs. You will often be able to personalize your service plan to make sure your needs are met, via the “a la carte” packages. Omitting some non-necessary service options can help you reduce the monthly cost.
For reference, assisted living is most expensive e in the US within the state of Delaware, where it averages over $72,000 per year. In the least expensive state, Missouri, it averages $32,400. So it really does depend on whether you’re in a rural or urban area, which state you’re in, and whether the local cost of living is relatively high on a national scale, or relatively low. Assisted living in the Midwest will be cheaper than assisted living in the heart of Manhattan.
Budgeting for Assisted Living Costs
To budget for assisted living when the times comes that you need it, you’ll first need to account for all of your monthly income sources. This can include social security, pensions, alimony (if applicable), investment dividends, and other income.
You should also assess what properties and assets you own, and what they’re worth. These can potentially serve as alternative sources of income and money. For example, you may end up selling your current home if you move into assisted living, leaving you with money that can help cover the costs.
Deducting your expenses from profit will leave you with an idea of how much you’ll be able to spend on assisted living.
If possible, it might be a good idea to consult with a financial advisor.
Tips for Keeping Costs Down
Here are a few tips for planning ahead financially for assisted living, which can help you mitigate the overall costs.
- Plan ahead. Start planning early, before you actually need to move into assisted living.
- Ask assisted living centers about price flexibility. Some facilities will offer things like move-in incentives, or are willing to negotiate costs.
- Consider moving to a less expensive location, if possible. We’ve mentioned that assisted living costs scale with an area’s overall cost of living. Being near family can be very important, and can justify paying more. But if you can, you may want to consider moving somewhere where assisted living costs aren’t as steep.
- Compare a la carte pricing with inclusive pricing, to figure out which is a better deal. Depending on what you need, an inclusive pricing package might actually be less expensive than the a la carte option.
Assisted living isn’t cheap, and unfortunately, there’s no real way around that. But by planning ahead financially, and looking into different assisted living homes to compare pricing options, you can help keep the costs manageable if you’re working with a limited budget. Senior Care Center can help you plan for the financial costs of assisted living. To speak to an advisor, give us a call today at (855) 242-9668.