Senior Living Options & Costs
One of the most asked questions about senior living is "how much does it cost?". That, of course, depends on many factors including location, amenities, and care needs. While it may be difficult to set an exact number on the cost of senior living, it is possible to understand why the costs are so different. The difference in cost can vary from as little as $2,000 to more than $10,000 monthly. Obviously, there is a huge gap here and this article will explain why that is.
There are many different types of senior living options and care assistance. Understanding the benefits and limitations of each will help you make the best decision. You may want to consider the potential for care needs in the future. Your Assisted Living Locators advisor will help you make the right decision. However, it’s helpful for you to know the basic options available.
Levels of Care
Assisted Livings are licensed to provide one of three levels of care.
- Supervisory care services
- Personal care services
- Directed care services
Directed care is the highest level. In Arizona, most assisted living homes and facilities, as well as memory care have directed care licensure.
Independent Living communities offer seniors all the benefits of an apartment without the hassle of maintenance. These types of communities are for seniors that can manage their own daily living needs. Most communities offer a range of services, including:
- Meals and snacks
- Housekeeping and Laundry
This is a good option for seniors that want socialization with other seniors but don’t need daily care. Many Independent Living communities also offer exercise programs, activities, beauty services, and more.
Costs of Independent Living
Independent Living, of course, comes with costs. While most of the services are included, there may be extra charges for additional assistance, meals, and care services. As care needs increase, so does the cost of independent living, sometimes to the point that assisted living makes more sense.
Assisted Living is for those with care needs, supervision, or help with activities of daily living (ADLs). Activities of daily living include basic routine activities like eating, bathing, getting dressed, and transferring to name a few.
Assisted living describes both assisted living homes and assisted living communities. The certified caregivers at Assisted Living homes and communities provide 24-hour care. This includes the administration of medication and several personal care services. The cost is sometimes included in the monthly fee or may be charged as an additional service.
Assisted living homes, also known as senior group homes or care homes, are found in most neighborhoods around Arizona. They offer either a private and/or a shared bedroom. Assisted Living homes typically have a higher ratio of caregiver staff, usually at least 1:5 during the day and 1:10 at night. There may be up to 10 residents in a care home in Arizona.
Assisted living communities, defined as 10 residents or more in Arizona, may be combined with other types of senior housing such as:
- Independent living
- Memory care
- Skilled nursing
The various levels of care may or may not be provided in the same building.
Costs of Assisted Living
Due to the amount of care and assistance, assisted living can be costly. As wages rise for caregivers and vacancies are unpredictable, the operating costs continue to increase. Those increases are eventually passed on to the resident or their family.
Memory Care communities are another option for those who have been diagnosed with memory impairment. Memory Care provides 24-hour supervision to those who may wander. The caregivers are trained to deal with many forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s.
Costs of Memory Care
The amount of care and supervision required in Memory Care communities is very high, thus expensive. In Arizona, monthly rates start around $4500 and continue upward based on the level of care.
In Home Care
In home care is care provided in your home. Sometimes referred to as companion care or nonmedical inhome care. Nonmedical inhome care providers may offer assistance with the following.
- Bathing and Dressing
- Light housekeeping
- Meal preparation
- Medication management
Cost of Home Care
The first step to support seniors in their home is often nonmedical home care – assistance with meals, cleaning, and errands, for example. This service generally costs $25/hour or so, and 12 hours a week will cost $1,200 a month or $14,400 a year. This service may be covered by Long Term Care insurance, and it’s sometimes all seniors need to stay independent and in their homes. Seniors don’t generally get more independent, though, and costs for homecare can escalate to $4,000/month/$50,000 a year for a 40 hour per week aide to $100,000 $200,000 a year or more for 24/7 aides. Assisted Living provides a great deal of supervision and support for appropriate seniors, and elimination of homecare costs is one way to help fund Assisted Living.
Cost Reduction and Analysis
The total cost of Assisted Living includes rent, food and food preparation, laundry, housekeeping, assistance with Activities of Daily Living, and activities each month. For many, this replaces expenses such as:
- Mortgage payments and utility
- Transportation costs
- Food and entertainment
- Home services and maintenance
Not to mention many other daily costs of living independently in a home or apartment. For some, the cost of Assisted Living is partially or completely paid for by the elimination of these costs.
Current Sources of Income
Many seniors have an ample flow of monthly income. This can include:
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Social Security income
- Veteran’s Benefits
The level of monthly income received by seniors often pleasantly surprises Seniors and families.
Paying for Senior Living
Seniors often own a home that is already paid off and can be sold or rented. They may also have savings and investments of various types. Not to mention assets like cars and property that they do not need anymore.
In other cases, seniors may not have assets and be on a fixed Social Security income or pension. Depending on their situation both medically and financially they may quality for ALTCS (Arizona’s Medicaid system). To find out more about the Arizona Long Term Care System visit their website at azahcccs.gov or contact an ALTCS planner in your area.
For many families, paying for Assisted Living, Independent Living, and Memory Care communities may be overwhelming. Yet, knowing your available resources may be the solution. Your local Assisted Living Locators eldercare expert can assist you in finding the best option.