As you begin to head towards your own retirement years, there may come a time when you have an aging loved one who is no longer able to live in independently on their own. Fortunately, there are a multitude of choices available should you come to that crossroad. With recent advancements in technology and health care for seniors, assisted living are so much better than we know as the standard ‘nursing home’ environment in years past.
Three of the most common living situations are:
- Assisted or Independent Living Community
- Memory Care Facility
- Hiring a full-time, in-home Caregiver
Each of the above scenarios come with their own set of questions that need to be taken into account. Although your first inclination may be to keep your loved one in their current home, or move them in with you, there are countless benefits that come along with an assisted-living environment.
Before we get into the specific details surrounding the three options listed above, let’s take a minute to list out some of the most common questions you may have when considering long-term senior care. This is by no means an all-inclusive list but are important ones to consider as you start down your journey. We’ll be discussing many of these topics in more detail in the next couple of posts.
Questions to Consider for Assisted-Living / Memory Care
- What are average annual costs for assisted-living or memory care communities? How does that compare to the cost of bringing in a full-time, in-home Caregiver?
- What are the different program and payment options?
- Do most facilities accept Medicare and/or private insurance plans?
- Are there additional fees for initial deposits or long-term contract requirements or month-to-month?
- How much of a deposit is required prior to moving in?
- Third-party or ancillary cost expectations for extra-curricular activities?
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- What does a normal week look like and how are activities scheduled?
- How is the security and safety of residents taken into account?
- What type of consideration is made for nutrition, food sensitivities, dietary restrictions etc.?
These questions and cost considerations are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many factors that influence overall cost for long-term assisted living. We discuss more about costs in our next article, but one thing to note as you begin gathering information is that Medicare and Medicaid only cover a small percentage of overall expenses. This is where Long-Term Care Health Insurance becomes an extremely valuable part of the equation.
AARP published a great article sharing updated information regarding the world of LTC: 5 Things You SHOULD Know About Long-Term Care Insurance. One of the most important factors they discuss are the differences between traditional policies and the new ‘hybrid’ option. Although the cost of these new hybrid policies are considerably more than traditional, they are structured more like whole life insurance that you can draw from when and if you need long-term care. In this scenario, your investment is returned to your heirs in the event you end up not needing LTC. Hybrid policies also don’t run the risk of rate increases the older you get, because the price is locked into your premium when you start your policy.
Hopefully these questions set you off to a solid start as you begin to explore the costs of assisted living. The good news is, everything you are learning now helps you better prepare in advance of your own future needs!