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By: Marissa Salvesen on September 13th, 2013

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Evaluating the Cost of an Assisted Living Community

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Evaluating the cost of Senior Living resized 600The final decision on a senior living community that’s right for you will come down to two closing points: 1) quality services and 2) affordable cost. To accurately evaluate an assisted living community, you must be willing to compare these services and costs with your unique needs and financial capability. Working from a cost-benefit angle will help steer you in the right direction.

How Well Does Assisted Living Compare with Other Senior Living Communities?

One way to evaluate the cost-benefit of an assisted living facility is to compare its services to other senior residences; primarily, independent living, home health care, and skilled nursing care. Altogether these communities represent a sufficient range of senior care services and can help you determine the option that best meets your needs at the price most advantageous to you.

A short description of these communities and comparative advantages are outlined:

Independent Living Community: Independent living is a residence for seniors who are looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle. Seniors in independent living communities typically manage routine daily activities without assistance and benefit greatly from the senior-friendly atmosphere and convenient services offered. Costs for independent living can vary greatly, as some apartment rentals along can serve as an affordable option while other all-inclusive rentals tend to be a bit pricier. When private health care becomes necessary, costs can generally run higher than assisted living.

Assisted Living Community: Assisted Living is a senior residence that offers a similar maintenance free-lifestyle, but with the addition of assistance with activities of daily living (ADL).  Assisted living typically offers more services and can provide more flexibility with cost, as many communities allow residents to budget separately for services like medication management or assistance with a bath or shower. Assisted Living is generally less expensive than other senior residences. Most of the same health care provisions fall under one roof, helping to defray agency costs.

Home Health Care: Home Health Care allows you to remain in your home while a home health aid provides assistance with activities of daily living (ADL). Home health care can be more cost-effective than other senior services, but only if the amount of assistance required is less than 40 hours per week. Also worth considering is the cost of home modifications and any additional services, such as Alzheimer’s care, which must be added into the equation.

Skilled Nursing: A Skilled Nursing Facility is a residential community that offers 24 hour care for seniors needing advanced levels of care. Services provided at a skilled nursing facility include a room, specialized medical care, comprehensive therapy and rehabilitation, assistance with advanced ADL needs and therapeutic dining options. The cost of skilled nursing care is the highest among the senior residences as a result of the high level of care required.

How to Spot Value in an Assisted Living Community

Once you have settled on assisted living as the best option for you and your family, you will still need to choose from among dozens of facilities in your area. There is no single blueprint for these communities as their range of amenities vary widely with consumer tastes.

When visiting an assisted living facility be sure to note these attributes for comparison and final decision making:

  • Is the community clean and free of odors with fresh air and good lighting?
  • Is the community well equipped with staff and services to meet your daily needs?
  • Is the floor plan easy to follow with wide spaces along doorways and hallways to accommodate changing needs? Check for handrails and elevators for easy access when walking around.
  • Do the residents appear to be well cared-for and content? Ask them if you’re not sure! Is staff respectful and caring with the residents? Is the atmosphere friendly?
  • The final decision on a senior living community that’s right for you will come down to two closing points: 1) quality services and 2) affordable cost.
  • One way to evaluate the cost of an assisted living facility is to compare its services to other senior residences; this will help in determining the option that best meets your needs at a price most advantageous to you.
  • Independent Living costs can run higher than assisted living, due in part to private health care costs, but generally, they vary.
  • Assisted Living typically offers more services and amenities than other independent senior living communities and can be a better budget option for changing needs.
  • Home Health Care can be more cost-effective than other senior services, but only if the amount of assistance required is less than 40 hours per week.
  • Skilled Nursing Care is highest in costs compared to other residences due to the round-the-clock skilled nursing care requirements.

Key Takeaways:

  • The final decision on a senior living community that’s right for you will come down to two closing points: 1) quality services and 2) affordable cost.
  • One way to evaluate the cost of an assisted living facility is to compare its services to other senior residences; this will help in determining the option that best meets your needs at a price most advantageous to you.
  • Independent Living costs can run higher than assisted living, due in part to private health care costs, but generally, they vary.
  • Assisted Living typically offers more services and amenities than other independent senior living communities and can be a better budget option for changing needs.
  • Home Health Care can be more cost-effective than other senior services, but only if the amount of assistance required is less than 40 hours per week.
  • Skilled Nursing Care is highest in costs compared to other residences due to the round-the-clock skilled nursing care requirements.

Learn More about United Methodist Homes 

If you are interested in more information regarding our assisted living communities in Connecticut and Tennessee please visit our website at www.umh.org for more information. \

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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