Once you’ve decided to move into an assisted living community, the first question you probably have is: “How much does it cost?” According to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national median monthly cost for assisted living is $4,300, which breaks down to about $138 per day. This price tag may seem high at first, especially if you’ve been living in your own mortgage-free home for some time. However, it’s important to look at exactly what you’re getting for that price tag so you can properly evaluate the benefits and the true cost of assisted living.
“Assisted living communities are maintenance-free and include extensive services and amenities in their price, making them surprisingly affordable,” says Ann Zak, Executive Director of Chatham Place at Mary Wade, New Haven County’s newest and preferred senior living community opening late summer 2021.
Ann says that rental-style communities like Chatham Place don’t require a large deposit to move in, and the contract is month-to-month, making it an easy and enjoyable way to start living the lifestyle you want and deserve.
“If you or a loved one have been finding it difficult to do the things you enjoy because of health or mobility issues, or if you simply are lonely and would like to live somewhere that makes socialization and entertainment as easy as walking out your front door, assisted living can provide value well just a place to live,” she explains.
In this article, we evaluate the cost of an assisted living community, compare the lifestyle to living “at home” and present some questions to ask when you’re touring communities for yourself or with a loved one.
What’s Included in Assisted Living Costs?
Once you’ve moved into an assisted living community, you begin paying a monthly fee that includes your rent as well as different services. The rent side of the fee pays for your private apartment – that’s fairly self-explanatory. The services and other benefits that are included in that fee are what make assisted living communities such a truly good value.
Generally, assisted living communities provide three meals a day for residents, which are prepared on site by a culinary staff and served in a casual or restaurant-style dining room. The maintenance-free aspect of the community also means that housekeeping, linen and laundry services, scheduled activities and events, transportation and fitness and wellness opportunities.
Perhaps most importantly for you or your loved one, assisted living costs cover a level of assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs). This includes things like bathing, grooming, toileting, mobility, medication management and getting dressed. These are activities that seniors can find difficult to do as they age.
Assisted living does not provide care that would need to be administered by a licensed nurse, such as diabetes shots or more intense nursing care. However, many communities have different types of care, such as skilled nursing facilities on site or nearby that give priority access to residents if and when it’s required. Some assisted living communities also provide memory care services, which might require a resident to pay a higher monthly fee for the higher levels of care.
There are also assisted living communities that may have tiered or á la carte pricing, which means that you would pay only for the services you need. For example, if you only needed assistance with medication management but are healthy and active, otherwise, you would pay less than someone requiring more extensive help with ADLs. At Chatham Place, we provide different care packages based on a level of need, so our assisted living residents never pay for more than they need.
What Makes Assisted Living an Affordable Choice?
To really get a feel for how affordable assisted living might be, look at your current monthly expenses. Even if you don’t have a mortgage payment, there are still many costs that go into owning a house, such as utilities, repair costs, taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Living on your own also means you need to prepare and cook your own meals, so add grocery costs to your list. Then there’s the upkeep – cleaning your house, laundry, yardwork, that sort of thing.
And those are just your costs now. As you age, you’d probably need to make modifications to your house to live there safely. Installing things like a stairlift, a wheelchair ramp, grab bars and other safety features can get expensive quickly. Finally, you may require assistance from a caregiver if you find ADLs difficult, which is yet another expense. As you can see, when you sit down to do the math, living on your own can carry a hefty price tag.
Assisted living can be an incredibly affordable choice when you look at everything you’re getting for your monthly fee. What can truly make it priceless is the socialization and entertainment opportunities as well as the peace of mind living in a community provides. You can’t put a price tag on security and happiness, especially when it helps you to live a fulfilling, engaged and totally enjoyable lifestyle.
What Questions Should I Ask to Find the Right Assisted Living Community for Me?
Depending on what you’re looking for in an assisted living lifestyle, some factors may be more important to you than others. There are many checklists and questionnaires available online to help guide you in these areas. Here are some specific questions you can ask to help you determine the true cost of an assisted living community so you can better compare your options.
- How is your monthly fee structured? Is it a tiered option or a flat, all-inclusive fee?
- What services and amenities are included in the monthly fee?
- How much is the entrance fee or deposit?
- Do I have to live in the community for a minimum amount of time, or do you have a month-to-month rental structure?
- What costs aren’t included in the monthly fee?
- Are there additional healthcare services on site, such as skilled nursing or memory care?
We hope this helps you see the inherent value that living in an assisted living community provides. If you need assistance doing the math or would like to learn more about our new community coming to New Haven County, we’d love to help. Contact us today to request a FREE Cost Comparison Tool!
Chatham Place at Mary Wade – Now Pre-Leasing!
Chatham Place at Mary Wade provides full-spectrum senior care with a holistic approach. Providing assisted living and memory care options, our devoted team of caregivers and specialists are committed to providing one-on-one, personalized care in a warm and supportive environment while also receiving the best care in the country. Our philosophy of personal service and gentle care remains steadfast and resolute, just as it was at our founding in 1886.
Opening in late summer 2021, Chatham Place will offer exceptional senior living options in a warm and inviting atmosphere. This new, state-of-the-art community will have 84 apartments designed to meet today’s safety, security and comfort standards. As part of the Mary Wade campus, we will continue the legacy of exceptional service, truly resident-centered care and access to world-class healthcare services.
For more information, please call (203) 423-3293.