Nursing homes are dreary and depressing. They feel like warehouses for people waiting to die. But they aren’t the only option. Instead, take a look at an assisted living facility. With planned activities, bright, pleasant surroundings, dining rooms and other amenities, you don’t have to spend your last years (or your parents) in uncomfortable living arraignments. And with the number of baby boomers getting ready to enter that stage of their lives, assisted living facilities are becoming more state-of-the-art and cheaper as competition grows.
Why Choose Assisted Living?
If you or a loved one needs a bit more care and can’t live alone anymore, an assisted living facility can be a terrific option. At a well-run facility, you’ll find an activities director who plans outings, daily activities, exercise programs, and other events to keep your mind and body healthy. You won’t worry that mom isn’t eating well because the staff includes a dietician and a kitchen. If grooming, bathing, or other personal issues require an extra hand, one is available.
If extra care is needed, whether for memory or other serious health issues, it is available from trained staff. And with 24/7 security, you or your loved one won’t fall victim to crime.
What Does It Cost?
The cost depends on location, level of care and other consideration. The national average is $3,600 a month. That might seem like a lot, but once you factor in the cost of home health aides, transportation, rent or mortgage, and other costs of living, the cost for assisted living is probably comparable. Plus, the recreational opportunities and social engagement is an important part of healthy aging and is missing from many seniors’ lives.
The national average for a nursing home private room is $7,700 and a semi-private room is $6,800.
What to Look For
Metropolitan areas have a larger selection of facilities. They range from small communities to rooms by the hundreds. There are ones that cater to a specific clientele or culture and range from formal to informal. By visiting, you can get an idea of what you like and need. Some will accept pets, so you don’t have to rehome a beloved companion. Ask a lot of questions and observe the residents.
Always check licensing and certification reports. You may be able to find reviews online.
Ways to Pay and Find Deals
There are a variety of ways to pay for assisted living. Long term care insurance through private insurers or VA benefits are an option. If you have a home, selling or renting it may net enough money to cover expenses. But one way to reduce costs is to find out which assisted care facilities have vacancies and see if you can work out a deal on costs. An empty room costs them money so filling it at a reduced rate may be an excellent option for them. Just make certain you know what services they are providing so you don’t get nickel and dimed for each item.
Start Your Search
Start your search online and narrow down places you are interested in. Then visit. Read all the paperwork and know what you are signing for. And ask for reduced rates or deals. They won’t tell you about them, so ask. It won’t hurt and it might help you get into your chosen facility much less expensively.