How much does Senior Living cost?

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey the average monthly cost of an assisted living facility in the state of Florida is right around $4,000. This can go up or down based on different options we will explore with you, or on the amount of care your loved one needs.

Cost is typically one of the most important factors facing families when the need arises to transition a family member in a senior living community. We will go over some of the elements to consider.

Current expenses

We know that senior living can be costly. But, when you consider how a lot of current expenses will no longer be needed, it can seem a lot less discouraging. When determining if senior living is financially feasible, it’s important to understand their current expenses as well as their financial resources.

In most cases, the cost of utilities, meals, transportation, and social gatherings is included in the cost of assisted living communities.

  • Mortgage payment or Rent: Almost 40% of seniors over the age of 65 still have a mortgage payment on their home. In most cases, this is the largest current expense that can be eliminated with a decision to move into assisted living.

  • Insurance and Property Taxes: Even if a home is owned free and clear, two big expenses that will last as long as your loved one is in their home is homeowners insurance and property taxes. These are two more big expense items that can be added into a budget for senior living if you decide to relocate your loved one into a care setting

  • Maintenance costs: Lawn care, home repairs, pool cleaning, HOA fees, etc.

  • Safety upgrades: If you’re considering the idea of assisted living, it’s usually for safety concerns while your loved one remains at home alone. If your family decides to have your aging loved one stay at home, instead of move to a more supervised setting, it might be a good idea to make some home modifications. These can prevent injuries and the risk of falls, as well as help with current and future mobility issues. These can vary in cost depending on the individual needs of your loved one.

  • Utilities: Monthly utility costs will also add up quite a bite. These include things such as electricity, water, gas, trash services, cable and internet, etc. These costs are typically covered by the senior living option you would choose.

  • Dining and Groceries: This expense can easily be between $500 to $1,000 a month. Meals are another great addition in assisted living settings. Meal services vary from community to community, but all facilities will offer at least three meals a day while some will even have snacks and happy hours available.

  • Transportation: Things like car payments, auto insurance, and fuel expenses that could still be expenses for your loved one could be eliminated with a move to assisted living. While most still allow their residents to drive, it’s typically no longer needed. Most necessities that they still use their vehicle for are now within a short distance across the home or community. For those instances that do require leaving the community, many senior living communities offer transportation.

  • Entertainment: One of the biggest advantages that will come along with moving into a senior living community is the social engagement that follows. Many facilities offer a social calendar with events and entertainment. This is usually included in the community’s monthly fee. This is one area that your loved one will not need to spend on once they change settings.

Paying for Senior Living

The following list are the ways we see used most often to pay for care needs and senior living expenses for our clients.

Income and Savings

Probably the most direct and no nonsense way of paying for independent or assisted living is by using your loved one’s income and savings. These can come from retirement income or pension funds as monthly income, or could include investments such as savings, IRAs, stocks, bonds or other various investments they may have.

Family Support

Perhaps the easiest option, outside of self pay directly from your loved one’s income and savings, would be to pool family support. However, this isn’t always an option and it differs from family to family.

Long-term Care Insurance

It depends on the individual policy, but most long-term care insurances will cover care associated with assisted living expenses. We have been able to get most client’s assisted living costs covered if they do have a long-term care policy.

If your loved one does not already have a long-term care policy in place, and you’re currently looking for their care, it’s likely to late or cost prohibitive at this point to be a viable option. However, it may be a good idea to look into for yourself or your spouse so your family isn’t faced with the same situation in the future.

VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

The VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) has assistance programs in place that can help pay for care for veterans, or their spouses, as long as they served one day of active duty during wartime. It’s not necessary that they saw actual combat, but that they were active during certain time frames that the government considers wartime. Read more about VA Benefits on our Aid and Attendance page.

Home Equity

While some don’t want to go the route of placing the family home on the market, many seniors sell their home and use the equity they’ve accumulated to pay for care in their later years. If you need emergency placement, and you don’t have the time to wait on the sale of a home, you can utilize a bridge loan until the home is sold.

If you and your family decide not to sell the home, but still need the money, you can utilize a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to fund your loved one’s care and pay it back over time.

Life Insurance

Using a life settlement, you can sell some life insurance policies to a third party for market value, and use those proceeds to fund long term care. The third party will then collect the benefit upon the policy holder’s death. Some policies are able to be cashed out early for a cash value or surrender value with the insurance company.

Renting Home

If your family is not ready or willing to sell your loved one’s home, you can always explore the option of renting it to directly fund assisted living or long term care costs.

Medicaid

Medicaid is as state-funded program to provide financial assistance to seniors who need help paying for personal care. The benefit in Florida usually will not cover all of the expenses for assisted living and severely limits your options. Read more in Harmony’s Assisted Living Medicaid Guide.

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