Can I Afford Senior Living?

January 12, 2021 by Katie Davis

Can I afford Senior care?

Senior living costs continue to increase, leaving many people wondering if they can afford to move when the time comes. In 2020, assisted living costs rose 6.1%, which was the highest of all care segments.

Since senior living is a broad term, let’s review the costs associated with different types of senior living communities. And as a reminder, please remember that no matter the type of community, costs vary widely across the country. Your local communities may be less or more expensive.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities focus on providing older adults with a place to live and typically some monthly services. They are also known as retirement communities, active adult communities, 55+ communities, or may be a part of a larger Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).  Independent living services vary per community but might include common grounds maintenance, some housekeeping, and access to dining and community wellness amenities.

With the exception of CCRC’s, most independent living communities offer homes for rent. The cost of monthly ‘rent’ is based on the size, location and quality of the unit. Then, there may be additional charges for a daily meal, housekeeping or a second person fee if you’re not living alone. Residents typically pay a single monthly payment to cover these fees, called the monthly service fee.

The average cost of independent living in North Carolina is $2,267 per month. This is higher than the national average which is $1,729 per month.

To budget effectively for independent living, it’s best to assume your base fee will be close to the monthly average for your state. Next, talk to the community representative about what the monthly fee covers so you understand exactly what you’re receiving.

Finally, write down your existing costs for certain utilities, food, home maintenance, home insurance, a gym membership, housekeeping and any other services you pay for now. Perform a simple comparison to see how your monthly costs compare.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted Living communities are similar to independent living communities in that they charge residents a monthly fee. However, assisted living fees typically include some medical support and care for individuals who need it.

The national median cost for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community is $4,300/month, or $51,600 per year. From 2018 to 2019, costs increased by about 1.28%, compared to 6.1% from 2019 to 2020. The five-year compound annual growth rate for assisted living costs rose to 3.62%.

Assisted living regulations vary by state. In general, assisted living is typically designed for individuals who need basic assistance with the activities of daily living. Some communities may charge a flat fee for a resident’s care. Others may have a points or level-of-care system with a base fee. In those instances, residents who need more care pay more and vice versa.

Memory care communities are sub-sets of traditional assisted living communities. These communities often offer secure facilities which prevent residents from wandering. Some also provide dedicated staffing and support for individuals with dementia.

Due to the additional staffing and support needed, memory care communities are the most expensive assisted living communities. Residents should expect to pay around $5,745 per month for memory care services.

At CarePods, we encourage people to do what they can to manage their health proactively, before a significant decline occurs. Planning ahead helps families conserve their resources should they need memory care in future.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities, are designed for individuals who require 24/7 nursing support and care. Because skilled nursing facilities provide the highest level of care and 3 meals/day, they are also the most expensive.

Most people go to nursing homes for short-term rehabilitation following a hospitalization or surgery. In those qualifying cases, Medicare covers the cost of the short-term skilled nursing stay. On the other hand, individuals who need long-term skilled nursing support pay out-of-pocket for their care.

According to Genworth Financial, the average monthly cost for nursing home care in the United States ranged from $7,756 – $8,821 in 2019. Most often, individuals pay directly for long-term nursing care. Medicaid offers some support if an individual can’t afford care.

Understanding Your Senior Care Budget

At CarePods, we believe the key to creating an affordable and high-quality senior care experience is to put a plan in place before you need one.

Our affordable care plans help you stabilize and manage your health while also helping you conserve your resources for future care needs. The idea isn’t to avoid memory care if you need it. The idea is to put together a support network so that you minimize and prevent significant health events. This helps you avoid placement in a high-care and high-cost community before you’re ready.

For more information about affordable senior care in Charlotte and to reserve a spot on our wait list, contact us today.


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