Aging can bring with it a host of anxieties, not the least of which is money. Many of us worry that after retirement, we won’t be able to support ourselves comfortably. Doctor bills rise along with the number of services we need to engage just to manage daily household chores.
One potential solution is to move into a retirement community. These facilities have become increasingly inviting in recent years, often boasting high end amenities that can actually improve upon your current standard of living. And the best news of all is that a recent drop in price may just put luxury assisted living within your reach.
What’s So Great About Assisted Living?
Today’s retirement communities are much more like upscale hotels than dreary institutions. Residents live in their own private apartments, yet can still take advantage of prepared meals in the dining room, recreational activities, exercise programs, fun outings, and rides to the store. Many seniors enjoy the balance of privacy with structure, security, and easy socialization. Most senior living facilities also offer extra assistance for those who need it, such as support for bathing, dressing, and housekeeping.
The Cost of Living
The cost of assisted living varies considerably based on where in the country you live and the amenities available at the facility you choose. However, a general nationwide average is about $3,600 per month. That does sound like a lot, but you must also factor in the money you will save on food, lawn care, housekeeping, and all the expenses associated with owning a vehicle. All told, it may actually be cheaper than living at home, but with many more benefits.
Why Now is the Time to Move
The extremely large Baby Boomer generation is now moving into retirement, and the population in general also keeps growing. The combined result of these societal factors is that in the coming years, the number of seniors residing in assisted living facilities is expected to double. In anticipation, many nice new facilities have been built, but not yet filled! During this period of limbo, consumers can find some very advantageous deals on an apartment in one of these facilities.
Building Your Short List
Once you decide to pursue an assisted living facility, you’ll want to have established a short list of potential centers for you. Those that don’t have the amenities you want can be discounted, as well as any with documented health and welfare violations. It is smart to review the inspection reports for each facility on your list as well, because even high end centers can be hiding dirty secrets.
Probably the most important factor to consider when building your short list is location. Being open to moving from your current city will make a huge difference in the deals you can find. In general, more rural locations will cost less than urban ones. But don’t think you can move anywhere in Florida, for example, and score an amazing deal.
Other extremely popular states for retirees include Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Nevada. If you have family in any of these locations and wish to be close, it may be worth paying more. Otherwise, look for less popular locations – they will cost a lot less.
How to Find the Deals
For the most part, the best deals won’t be advertised. They will be negotiated. But because many facilities have more rooms than residents, management should be willing to deal. Every night that a room spends empty represents lost income. Of course, if these massive discounts were advertised, the facilities would be filled quickly with people who don’t really need to be there, and the center would lose money at capacity.
So for starters, it pays to do some research on the occupancy rate of the facilities that you’re considering. The more empty rooms, the more likely the management will be willing to offer a deal. It’s also good to present yourself as someone who is excited by the possibility of living there – that can help make it a fun environment for other residents and happy residents raise the public profile of the center.
Once you start visiting facilities, make sure to let each one know that you are shopping around. Being prepared to walk away if you don’t get the deal you need is just as powerful in retirement community shopping as it is in car shopping. You may also find that certain facilities are willing to match the best offer you receive or waive certain closing fees.
The Last Word
Many people automatically assume that a luxury retirement community is beyond their reach. But based on multiple demographic factors, now is actually a great time to make the move. The trick to scoring a great deal is to be flexible on location and to shop around. Be an informed consumer and above all, be prepared to negotiate. Nothing is set in stone. If you need help, seek out a Senior Living Advisor in the areas you are considering.
Another great tip is to call an organization that provides in-home caregivers to senior citizens, such as Home Instead Senior Care. Their caregivers often work with residents at assisted living facilities, and they can give you the inside scoop on the best places.
If you are ready to make the leap from managing your own home to letting someone else do the work for you, consider an assisted living facility. Luxury living at an affordable price is more accessible than you think.