5 Ways to Afford Senior Care Costs
Are you concerned about how you’re going to afford senior living for your loved one? If so, you’re not alone. Many families struggle with how to cover the costs of caring for their loved ones.
Explore these five ways you can cover senior care costs for your loved one, while still ensuring they get the highest quality of care and have the most fulfilling life possible.
1. Save Money for Future Care
Does your loved one have a savings account that could cover senior care costs? Do you? Saving money is the best way to pay for senior care, but depending on current living costs, it might take a little effort to put aside enough money.
When you start saving money well in advance of your senior loved one’s need for greater care, you may be able to put aside enough funds to cover almost all future costs. Encourage them to be future-minded, too, and put aside as much as they can.
Does your loved one need to move into a senior living community now? If you don’t have time to save up for the transition, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to cover senior care costs.
2. Research Programs that Offer Assistance
While most senior assisted living options are private pay facilities, there are outside programs that could help cover some senior care costs. A few of these options include:
- Medicaid – Medicaid is a financial option for those in a nursing home, and does not apply to assisted living communities. If your loved one is in a nursing home, Medicaid will pay for most of a person’s nursing home expenses, if they have a low income. (This is in contrast to Medicare, which only covers nursing home expenses in certain situations and only up to 100 days.)
- Veterans’ Programs – Is your loved one a veteran or the spouse of a veteran? If so, you might be able to find funding through the Veterans Association. While the VA won’t cover rent for someone in an assisted living community, they may cover some extra services needed, like meals, round-the-clock assistance, and more.
- State Non-Medicaid Programs – Your state may have non-Medicaid programs to provide seniors and their families with financial assistance. For example, Maryland offers an assisted living subsidy through their Department of Aging. This program, the Senior Assisted Living Group Home Subsidy, provides financial support for seniors in specific assisted living communities that are licensed and approved by the state’s Departments of Aging, and Health and Mental Hygiene.
- Social Security – The Social Security check your loved one receives each month could help cover the cost of an assisted living community or other senior care options. While Social Security does not directly pay for senior care costs, there are some options available from states to help with costs, like a supplemental Social Security income (SSI).
Invest time in researching what the federal government and your state have to offer, even if you have the means to cover some of your senior care costs. You don’t want to leave money on the table that would otherwise help your loved one or your family cover the expenses associated with senior care.
Get Help Paying for Assisted Living
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3. Selling Your Loved One’s House
Does your loved one struggle with the upkeep of their home? If their house is no longer a safe, accessible place for them to live, selling the house might be a great option to help you cover the cost of care.
Many people don’t realize that selling a home could be the best step to help cover their loved one’s senior care costs. If their home is already paid off, the funds from a sale could comfortably cover the cost of a senior living community. Even if they owe money toward a mortgage, the funds leftover after paying the mortgage off could still be a huge help in covering some of the costs.
One of our residents of Crosby Commons, a UMH senior living community, recently said, "At first, people think Crosby Commons is too expensive. But sell your house and you can live there the rest of your life!"
4. Talking with Family
If your senior loved one can’t cover the costs alone, reach out to your family members for support. Ask other people in your family if they could contribute to the senior care costs for your loved one. By getting a handful of relatives to commit to a small, affordable amount each month, you can break up the costs, making it a more manageable expense to cover. Get firm commitments from your other family members, and work out a way you can all contribute to the cost of care for your loved one.
This option obviously isn't ideal for family members, but a small contribution from multiple people can go a long way, especially if you want to make sure your senior is getting the best quality of care and life.
5. Weigh Your Options
The monthly cost of care should be considered carefully before any decisions are made. But, you should also consider the value of the care your loved one will receive, too. You want your family member to receive the best care possible, in the most comfortable environment. So, when you’re looking at senior living communities, make sure you’re getting the best care at an affordable price.
To evaluate the quality of care in a senior living community, consider the following factors:
- Dining Options – Are meals covered in the monthly care cost, or provided by the community? If so, this deducts from grocery expenses and ensures they have a healthy, well-rounded diet.
- Outings – If your loved one no longer drives, it can be hard for them to get out and about. Many senior living communities have frequent outings, making travel to activities outside their community safe and accessible. Most communities have drivers to bring residents to doctor's appointments, shopping trips and errands.
- Events – You want your senior loved one to have a fulfilling life, and many communities offer entertainment to ensure their residents are engaged and active. From live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, Zumba classes and monthly birthday parties, there is always something going on. Reach out to your community of interest and ask to see the weekly or monthly activity schedule. That way, you can you get a good gauge of the types of social opportunities they provide.
- Staff and Care – Ultimately, care is the highest consideration on the list. Your loved one should be well cared for by an attentive, expert staff. A higher, marginal cost is worth outstanding care. Visit the community and meet the staff members, ask how long they've been there and why they chose to work at that particular community.
Each of these paths can help you cover the senior care costs your family is facing. You don’t want to compromise when it comes to your loved one’s care or the right living situation. When you can overcome the obstacle of cost, you can give them the life and care they deserve.
Do you want to learn more about affording senior care costs?
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About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.