Many people may require some assistance in activities of daily living or medical care as they age. Individuals who cannot perform daily living activities on their own often need to hire in-home care via a caregiver service, and when that is not enough, move to a retirement community or an assisted living facility.
What Does Senior Living Mean?
Senior living involves living communities for seniors 55 and older. Known as independent retirement communities or continuing care retirement communities, senior living communities provide their residents with continual care. However, people living in these communities have the freedom to use third-party home health care services to help with day-to-day activities and care.
Many seniors who reside in independent living units (typically apartments) usually don’t require assisted living services or home care such as dressing, bathing, feeding, etc.
Most aging adults who move into the community still lead very active and independent lives. However, as their mobility and health can change over time, aging adults can have caregivers come to their apartments to meet their advanced care needs.
What Is the Difference Between Senior Living & Assisted Living?
Although both senior living and assisted living can help you live a good quality of life as you age, there are some differences between these two living arrangements.
Independent living communities do not provide nursing support or medical care, while assisted living focuses on supporting aging adults when and if they need it.
In assisted living communities, people live in their apartments or condos. Still, there is typically 24/7 assistance available with daily activities such as cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, bathing and grooming, medication management, and so forth. Assisted living offers medical support and staff to monitor and check in on residents.
Independent living, on the other hand, focuses on an active lifestyle and support. It is a helpful solution to people who no longer feel comfortable living alone but still can tend to their basic needs and ADLs.
Another option to consider is, of course, elder care in own home. Many seniors decide to age in place, not feeling comfortable leaving their homes. Home care for seniors involves services for maintaining independence and improving the quality of everyday life. Elderly care is tailored to meet an aging adult’s individual needs and can range from companionship to medication management and physical therapy.
How Old Do You Have to Be for Senior Living?
For most independent senior living communities, you have to be 55 or older. There is no upper age limit for moving to an independent living facility as long as you can maintain an independent lifestyle.
How Much Does It Cost to Live in a Senior Living Facility?
Since people living in independent living facilities do not require senior care, these communities are typically more affordable. However, your stay in an independent living community may not be covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
On the other hand, assisted living cost depends on the level of care you might need, so the price expands upon these more extensive services and tends to be more costly than independent living or home care.
Nevertheless, living in a senior living facility can cost you anywhere between $1,500 to $4,000 a month (up to $133 per day) for an independent living facility and from $3,500 to $10,500 in an assisted living community.
How Can I Pay for Assisted Living with No Money?
Assisted living is typically covered by long-term care insurance, Medicaid, and employee benefits programs. Medicaid is one of the most usual ways people pay for assisted living with no money available. However, you may need a prescription from your doctor to get the coverage.
Medicare does not pay for long-term assisted living facilities (only short-term stays up to 100 days), but they cover home health care for seniors. This is an acceptable option for those aging individuals who decide to age at home and receive home health care services that help them maintain independence in a familiar environment.
Will Social Security Pay for Assisted Living?
Yes. In most US states, Social Security under Optional State Supplements (OSS) provides financial assistance for aging individuals that live in assisted living facilities. However, you need to meet specific eligibility criteria to qualify.
Social Security benefits can help pay for room and board costs at an assisted living facility. You will not receive the payment, however, as you do with Social Security. The funds from OSS will go directly to the assisted living facility.
How Do Seniors Pay for Independent Living?
Medicare and Medicaid do not provide financial assistance for paying the monthly fee for independent living. To come up with the funds, you can consider reverse mortgages, but only if you are 62 years of age and older. This is also a short-term option as the loan becomes due a year after moving out of your home.
The other option would be to sell or rent your home and use the funds to pay for a residency in an independent living community.
You can also use life settlements and sell your life insurance policy to a third party for a lump sum of money.
Nevertheless, if you opt to stay at home and receive in-home senior care, Medicaid, Medicare, long-term care insurance, and Veterans Benefits can cover the cost of senior care.
Does Insurance Cover Assisted Living Costs?
Medicaid, long-term care insurance, and life insurance will all pay for nursing home care, but you may need your doctor’s note confirming your disability or illness.
The Veterans Benefits provide financial assistance for assisted living care, but only if you have a medical or financial need. You or your spouse served at least 90 days during a conflict.
How Do You Pay for Assisted Living?
Most people pay for assisted living from private funds, whether it is savings, pensions, or Social Security benefits. However, if you lack funds to cover assisted living costs, other options such as Medicaid or life insurance you can draw from.
Apart from institutional settings such as assisted living facilities, aging adults can receive care in their own homes.
If you would rather age at home or cannot live alone and need long-term care, you can receive home care or home health care. Senior care includes various services that cover assistance in meeting your needs and overcoming challenges to normal day-to-day functioning.