The increasing cost of living is always among the top financial concerns that keep seniors up at night, so it can be tempting to evaluate assisted living by cost rather than by the value it offers. But there are unseen costs—emotional, physical, and financial—of choosing the cheapest senior living option instead of the option that meets individual needs both today and tomorrow.
Shopping the bargains at the grocery store or at a rummage sale are great ways to cut costs—choosing assisted living by cost that doesn’t meet a loved one’s individual needs isn’t.
Choosing Assisted Living by Cost Forces Sacrifices Elsewhere
Assisted living is built on the idea that providing just the right level of support while encouraging residents to remain socially, mentally, and physically active promotes healthy aging and reduces overall senior care costs. Evaluating assisted living by cost alone turns that model on its head by ignoring its central focus: promoting independence, engagement, and healthy aging.
Choosing an option that meets a senior’s financial needs but doesn’t feel like home, encourage engagement, or meet individual care needs can actually lead to additional costs down the road. Those costs can come in the form of additional medical or personal care expenses if a community is unable to meet needs or successfully engage your loved one. Those costs can also come in the form of relocation expenses if a move to a new community is required down the road.
Choosing the community that offers the best value in terms of accommodations, care, and costs from day one will help promote healthy aging and long-term financial health.
Assisted Living Might Be More Affordable Than You Think
Seniors and their family members might experience sticker shock when they look at the monthly cost of an assisted living community—but it’s important to remember that the cost includes almost all living expenses. When things like room and board, food and nutritional counseling, exercise and rehabilitation, social engagement and recreation, transportation, and personal care are factored in, the monthly cost of quality assisted living can actually be on par with or lower than the cost of remaining at home.
A Senior Living Calculator can help provide an accurate financial picture by tabulating your loved one’s current living expenses for their house—things like mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, groceries, personal care, landscaping, maintenance, and renovations needed to remain in the home—to the cost of all-inclusive assisted living in your area. This helps create an accurate picture of what, exactly, is included in assisted living costs and how that compares to current living expenses.
So, while cost should be an important consideration in your search for assisted living, it’s important to always consider what’s included in the cost to choose the best value.
Next Steps: Choosing Assisted Living by Value
The best assisted living option for a loved one has to make financial sense, but it also has to provide the right level of support, encourage social engagement, and promote healthy aging to bring real value. It can be helpful to start by using a Senior Living Calculator to tabulate a loved one’s current expenses and to help learn about what’s included in monthly rates for assisted living. But at the end of the day, the best assisted living choice for your family is a place that feels like home.