After Discovering Financial Programs that Fit Their Needs, Bob & Eileen Could Make a Comfortable Move to Assisted Living
"Jill knew that her parents needed assisted living, but was overwhelmed at the thought of how to cover the costs…"
With her mother unsteady on her feet and often at risk of falling and her father’s Mild Cognitive Impairment diagnosis, Jill* knew it was time to help her parents find a more supportive and safe living arrangement.
After comparing many assisted living communities throughout the state, her parents’ hearts were set on one of Senior Living Residences' communities. Jill’s mother Eileen remembers, “The tour really won us over, we loved the variety of educational and meaningful programs, the brain healthy cuisine was impressive and the apartments were very nice.”
*To protect privacy, names and photos are not actual.
Though excited for her parents, Jill was overwhelmed thinking about how they could cover the cost of assisted living. Both parents had very little income— collecting social security and relying on a small monthly pension.
Can We Afford it?
After sitting with the community’s Executive Director, Heather to discuss financial options, Jill was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were programs her parents could qualify for. Since her father Bob was a retired veteran, he was eligible for the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefit which offered nearly $1800 a month towards the cost of an assisted living apartment. Eileen and Bob could also apply for PACE, a national insurance program funded jointly by Medicare and Medicaid designed to provide all necessary medical supportive services in the least institutionalized setting, to qualified older adults.
Making the Move a Reality
After Heather put Bob and Eileen in touch with trusted local professionals to expedite the benefits process, they were soon approved for the PACE program, helping to cover the market rate of the 1BR apartment they fell in love with. They could then use Bob’s Veteran’s benefit coupled with his pension to help cover the rest of the monthly fee, while offsetting the burn rate of their assets.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?
ASSISTED LIVING COSTS
The cost of Assisted Living, which varies from community to community, is based on the type and size of the rental apartment, as well as the level of care needs and the service options chosen by the resident. In Massachusetts, Assisted Living monthly rates typically fall within the range of $3,500 to $6,500 per month.
NURSING HOMES COSTS
In comparison, Nursing Homes in Massachusetts average $8,000 to $12,000 per month. If you need 24-hour skilled nursing care to handle a variety of complex medical issues, this is the option you need.
HOME HEALTH CARE COSTS
Many people also assess the cost of Home Health Care (HHC) when deciding which option to choose - staying at home with services or moving to an Assisted Living community. HHC is usually based on an hourly rate. In Massachusetts this rate ranges from $18 to $28 an hour, depending on the geographic area and the type of home health care services being contracted for. It's important to compare apples to apples. You should look at the 24-hour staff/support that Assisted Living provides to the same level of HHC services: “live-in” caregivers who sleep at night charging 12 hours per day (in Mass. on average $7,500/month) and 24-hour awake staff coverage with 2-3 shifts of different caregivers (on average $15,500/month).
Just 8 hours a day of HHC can cost over $5,000 per month. Compare that to Assisted Living monthly fees of $3,500 to $6,500 per month which ALSO includes all housing costs (property tax, utilities, maintenance, housekeeping), groceries and meal preparation, transportation, security with 24-hour awake staff, and personal care services. We know we are biased! but we do believe that Assisted Living offers you so much more than you get living at home alone with services - an active social setting that eliminates your isolation, a variety of enriching, educational and fun programs, comprehensive wellness services to help you maintain your independence, and all the privacy you want in your own apartment home.
Having said that, if you need just a little assistance with personal care and medications and you don't mind living at home alone, a limited amount of HHC to supplement family support may be a good financial option.
- For more about available financial options that help pay for the cost of Assisted Living, please visit our Financial Options section.
What is the Typical Assisted Living Resident Like?
87 years old; Most residents are between 80 and 95
- Frail but does not need 24-hour nursing care
Mobile, but needs assistance with 2-3 ADLs (activities of daily living); Top 2 ADLs: 70% need help with bathing, 50% with dressing
Over 80% need assistance with IADLs (independent activities of daily living)
Top 2 IADLs: medication management and meal preparation
75% have 2-3 of the top 10 chronic conditions. Top 2: 55% have high blood pressure, 40% have dementia (MCI, Alzheimer’s or another dementia). Also, heart disease, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, COPD, cancer, stroke