How to Pay for Assisted Living Costs

Costs for assisted living can vary from place to place, the level of care the person needs and the quality of the assisted living facility. Find out how you can beat the high costs of assisted living.

Families who find that their senior parents are no longer able to manage the day-to-day activities that come with living in their own home by themselves may want to consider moving their elderly loved ones to an apartment in an assisted living facility. Having said this, it can be emotionally exhausting and challenging to find and arrange assisted living communities for seniors. Add to that the rising costs of senior care, and it’s no wonder how overwhelming and stressful it can be for many families.

The 2015 Cost of Care Survey conducted by Genworth Financial revealed an increase of 2.86 percent in assisted living costs compared to 2014. What’s more, the survey showed that assisted living communities can usually expect the annual increase to be at 4.28 percent. The anxiety grows exponentially when you consider the fact that Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of assisted living.

There are basically two options for paying for long-term care: either you pay for the costs entirely out-of-pocket, or you do this until you get to the point that you deplete your resources enough that you qualify for Medicaid, both of which aren’t ideal prospects. While this may make finding the right assisted living facility for you or your loved one an impossible predicament, it doesn’t have to be – all it takes is a little strategizing.

Long Term Care Insurance

If you anticipate the need for assisted living 30 or 40 years in the future, you might want to look into buying long-term care insurance. This type of insurance covers nursing home care, home-based health care, and assisted living care, as well as other medical services. Waiting too long may result in your not being eligible for it, especially if you are older than 85, or are already living in an assisted living facility, or have been diagnosed with a condition that requires long term care. Basically, the younger and healthier you are at the time of purchase, the more affordable the insurance.

If you have a long-term care insurance policy, it should also be able to cover assisted living. There are policies designed for home care or facility-only care, so make sure you understand the details of your policy. Most insurance companies will require that policyholders need help in at least two areas of Activities of Daily Living or ADL, such as bathing, dressing, eating, managing medications, mobility and toileting.

Reverse Mortgage

Do you own your own home? Does your spouse still need a place to live after you’ve moved to an assisted living facility? A reverse mortgage might be the solution you need. A reverse mortgage is a loan for homeowners who are over the age of 62, which allows them to borrow money on the equity they have built up in their home. The loan becomes due when the last surviving homeowner moves out or passes away. This kind of loan is extremely complicated and it is important to get professional advice before applying for one. Carefully consider the pros and cons of reverse mortgages, as well as other options for paying for assisted living costs.

Bridge Loans

Families who are having difficulty liquidating assets quickly can make use of short-term bridge loans. These types of interest-only loans are usually used to pay the assisted living facility while waiting for money to come in, such as the sale of a property or to be approved for a pension.

Veterans Benefits

There is financial assistance for assisted living for veterans and spouses of veterans who have served at least 90 days on active duty and at least one day during a period of war. This is called the Aid and Attendance Benefit and it helps pay for assisted living, nursing home, or at-home care. Veterans can receive the Aid and Attendance monthly pension of they:

  • Require help in order to perform Activities of Daily Living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting themselves from the hazards of their daily environment
  • Are bedridden
  • A patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
  • Have eyesight limited to a corrected 5/2000 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

Medicaid Waiver

Medicaid, a joint federal and state program, might help pay for long-term care if you have limited assets and a low income. The states have the flexibility when establishing the benefits they will offer, as well as the eligibility criteria for the benefits they provide, and as such, each state has different income and asset guidelines for Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid waivers have enrollment caps, which means only a limited number of people can receive assistance at any given time, so it is common for individuals to be placed on waiting lists. It is important to note that not all assisted living communities accept Medicaid.