Seniors: Assisted Living Cost Categories

It is an unfortunate reality that the cost of care factors into the decision of whether to seek an assisted living arrangement for seniors. Some well-off older individuals do not need to be concerned with the cost of the facility. On the other hand, most seniors are on a fixed-income through social security benefits and retirement. They must choose a facility that fits within this narrow range of affordability. The varying costs are associated with varying categories of assistance provided. 

Levels of Care

The level of care you need will greatly affect the cost of your care. The more doctors and nurses are involved with your day-to-day functions, the larger the bill will be. Generally, assisted living facilities have separate buildings that house individuals according to levels of care required. Largely-independent individuals will be in one building or group of buildings, moderately-independent individuals in another, and dependent seniors in a final, maximum assistance grouping. The cost of the groupings goes up with the care needed. Most assisted living facilities provide for a transition from one level of care to the next as an individual senior ages. This provides much needed peace of mind, but it is important to remember costs may go up if you move.

Unique Medical Concerns

If you have any unique medical concerns or conditions requiring immediate and direct attention, your costs may be higher. For example, individuals who are disabled or who need assistance with feeding or bathing, even if they are mentally very independent, may have a higher cost of care. If you suffer from diabetes, lung disease or other permanent conditions, you may need additional care that comes with additional cost. This is an unfortunate reality of a medical condition: there is a high cost whether you treat it independently or through an assisted living facility. 

Size of Facility

The size of the facility you choose to live in will also impact cost. In general, maintenance fees for the facility are split among the residence much like a "home owners association fee" would be split among residents in a condominium building. The more residents available to split the cost, the lower the cost per resident. Facilities that house very few individuals often cost more money. The salaries of the staff are divided between fewer people in addition to maintenance fees. This can provide a greater level of personal care, but that care comes at a premium. 

Ancillary Programs

Assisted living facilities often provide services above and beyond simple care and dining. You may find your residence also has educational programs, theater performances and a number of recreational activities for you to enjoy. All of these services cost money, so you should think carefully about the benefit you would receive from each. If your assisted living home is costly because there is a pool, question whether you intend on enjoying that pool. If not, perhaps this is a cost you could do without. Ultimately, finding the right assisted living facility depends on your priorities. Know what you want, and purchase a package appropriately. 

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