Senior Living: What Are The Costs?

December 11, 2013

Your kitchen table is covered in “Senior Living” pamphlets, you’re on the phone with your financial adviser, a casserole is waiting to be brought to your parent who no longer functions well in the kitchen, and all you can think is, “Am I doing the right thing by having Mom (or Dad) move into senior living?”. 

Coping with the emotional effects associated with moving a loved one into senior housing is hard, but when coupled with the costs of senior housing and what’s affordable, well it can be an overwhelming experience. Making use of all available resources is a good way to limit stress and frustration; this includes contacting the on-site advisers for the communities you’re loved one is considering.

Besides connecting with experts/advisers, having a basic understanding of the pricing model for senior living will enable you to research communities more effectively. You should know that costs are typically dependent on two factors:

  1. Accommodation Selection (i.e. shared or single; studio, one or two bedrooms)
  2. Level of Care

Senior living accommodations vary, inevitably affecting the cost.  Seniors in general usually have the option to live in a studio apartment, single bedroom apartment, or in some communities a two-bedroom apartment, the first being the least-expensive of the three.  A resident can choose whether or not to have a roommate. This decision can be preference-based, or a choice made of necessity; many find living with someone to be comforting and homey, while others prefer their own space.

The second factor that plays a role in senior living cost is the level of care that’s necessary to help your loved one throughout the day.  How much assistance a resident needs affects the amount of time staff members spend with them, which of course increases costs. Daily assistance can range from simply helping a resident button their cardigan every morning to assisting them with all facets of their day, from bathing and dressing to eating and medication reminders.

The costs associated with senior living may seem high, but most people are surprised by how comparable it is to the cost of maintaining a private home.  This is a hard time for all families, but being educated and informed ensures a smoother decision making process.