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Calculating the Cost of Permanent Senior Care

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Calculating the cost of permanent senior careIt’s never easy to talk to your parents about permanent senior care—even if the conversation is precipitated by an immediate necessity. But the whole process can be easier when you understand all of the care options that are available, and the costs that are associated with each.

Deciding What Kind of Care Your Parents Need

Senior care has many different levels of skill—from home-maker services that help with certain housekeeping tasks to visiting nurses that can provide medical assistance. Understanding the needs of your loved ones, now and, as much as is possible, in the future will help you to figure out both the kinds of care they will need and what the likely costs will be.

Most new caregivers start out looking specifically for assisted living without actually understanding what the term actually means.

Though there is no single definition of assisted living, senior care professionals typically use the term in reference to long-term care that combines housing, support services, and, potentially, healthcare. But there is even further differentiation within this category with different scenarios, each with their own costs and benefits, so it’s important to consider all of your options before deciding what kind of support services your parents need.

  • Continuing Care Retirement Community. These communities offers various levels of assistance, like independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care, offering a place where your loved ones can remain through various stages of care for the duration of their lives— generally on a fixed rate of cost through a contract.
  • Home Health Care.  In-home services can provide long-term care at various levels of specialized assistance, but also come with a wide range of costs and expenses to consider which can vary widely depending on the type of care your loved ones require.
  • Special Care Units. Skilled nursing units in a senior care setting are most typically designed for residents with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, providing specialized care in a secure setting that is generally located in a separate portion of a larger facility. As such, additional costs are likely.

Finding the right type of senior care for your loved ones starts with knowing what type of care they will need—and what they can afford.

Making Sure a Payment Plan is in Place

Whether you’re considering senior support services for the short-term, with the intention to move your loved ones to a senior care facility at a later time, or you’re looking at placing them in a long-term care facility immediately, there are a few things to be mindful of as you make your decisions.

1. Determine Your Budget

Senior care can be costly, especially if you haven’t planned for it. Between your own financial responsibilities and your loved ones Medicare or Medicaid coverage, knowing how much they can afford for daily, weekly, and monthly care will help narrow down the kinds of care to focus on.

2. Find out if your loved ones have senior living or nursing care insurance.

Private insurance is widely considered the best way to cover long-term care when the need arises. Eldercare lawyers often suggest that individuals begin looking for a policy at 40 and purchase a policy by the age of 50. If your parents have insurance, their coverage is going to cut down on out-of-pocket expenses, so make sure that you talk with them about purchasing a policy.

3. Get financial assistance if you need it.

Medicare Parts A and B do not cover non-medical expenses like custodial care. Part A does, however, cover portions of specific types of senior healthcare services (rehab, hospitalization) for a limited time. If you’re looking for assistance with long-term care, Medicaid helps to cover at least part of ongoing care for your loved ones— though the types of coverage and the amount of coverage varies widely from state to state or even from situation to situation. There are also Housing and Veterans subsidies available to seniors who meet specific qualifications.


Click here to head to our guidebook for relatives of seniors
February 15, 2014

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