Are Assisted Living Homes Worth the Cost?
Living conditions as one ages can have very different needs. Many people may find their homes too large with children long gone. Others could use some assistance with day to day tasks due to health issues. Sometimes people may feel a bit isolated living on their own and it’s difficult to meet new people at an advanced age. Assisted living communities are an option which can assist with all of these tasks.
Assisted living homes and communities are also known as retirement communities. The goal of these communities is to make the life of residents easier. This can mean that some day to day tasks are performed or assisted with. Help with medical issues is a key part as well. Assisted living communities aren’t provided for free. The question to many people considering them is whether the services offered are worth the price being paid.
Assisted Living vs. Long Term Care
The terms assisted living (or retirement homes/communities) can often get interchanged with the concept of long term care facilities (or nursing homes). Both do offer a similar overall concept. They are attempting to assist the elderly in the way they live their lives.
However, there’s a significant difference in how they go about it. Assisted living communities use a much finer touch with how much they affect a resident’s life. Services provided are far more of an “as needed” system. They don’t have a medical professional on sight 24 hours per day like many long term care facilities do. Assisted living communities also tend to be more similar to homes, townhomes or condominiums. You get more room and more options with your living conditions. A nursing home can sometimes get a bit of a hospital ward feel with 1 or 2 people per square box style room.
Assisted Living Features
There are many different features which make assisted living an interesting proposition. Essentially each is designed to make life easier. Not all features have to be taken advantage of. Most assisted living facilities will provide a base cost with some features included. Then additional ones are an added cost. Some features of assisted living include:
- Medication and Medical Assistance - Missing a dose of a prescription medication can have some problematic consequences. Assisted living will ensure that this doesn’t happen. While they may not have nurses on staff 24 hours per day, they are likely to provide regular access to nurses and doctors, with staff trained to help with emergency situations before first responders can arrive.
- Safety Features - Most areas are designed to assist fall risks with additional hand rails and support. Security systems and guards are often common too, with many assisted living communities functioning as gated communities.
- Social Possibilities - The close proximity of many elderly people in a region often finds that there are many overlapping interests. There’s many programs and events to meet new people!
- Food/Daily Activity Assistance - Many communities will provide meals to those who struggle with cooking. The same can be said of some additional help with chores in the home and taking care of oneself. These services can add to the cost of a stay.
Is There Enough Value in Assisted Living?
Assisted living facilities are not cheap. Depending on the location and services offered, it can cost somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 every month! Medicare does not cover any aspects of assisted living. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Opting into long term care insurance at an earlier age can help pay for the services later. Though you need to ensure that you know everything about the policy to ensure qualification later. Many people may choose to sell their life insurance benefits back to their provider. This can give anywhere between 50% and 75% of the policy. Renting out your old home, selling it outright or getting a reverse mortgage can be a way to pay for assisted living. While expensive, there are methods to get there.
So the question remains: Is there enough value in assisted living? The short answer in most cases is probably yes. The services offered increase the quality of life significantly while still allowing a sense of independence. Living longer and living happier is the goal of most people as they age, and assisted living does help with that goal.