Considering a move to a retirement community can be overwhelming and it marks the beginning of a new season of life. The thought of leaving home and having to adjust to a new environment can feel challenging. However, the logistics of moving aren't the only consideration. Often, however, that does not even include another large and looming question, is assisted living an affordable option?
Here at Village Green, we want the finances to be the least of your concerns, so we have detailed below, everything you will need to consider as you think about moving. And once that’s out of the way, you can be free to find the perfect new home and navigate the adjustment of change, without financial concern.
What is Assisted Living and What are the Benefits to Seniors?
Assisted living is a form of care for seniors who do not require concentrated medical care but who can no longer safely live on their own. Perhaps you can no longer safely prepare meals, need assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing or taking medications on time. In other words, you need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) but are not entirely dependent on another person, such as a nurse or full-time caregiver.
The benefits of choosing an assisted living community in Federal Way are plentiful, although they vary slightly depending on your unique situation and the areas where you need support. For example, disabled adults of all ages may qualify for assisted living. In assisted living, you receive regular attention for your needs by a professional staff, while surrounded by a community of peers and amenities designed to appeal to seniors. You also keep your privacy, with an individual unit.
Another benefit of assisted living for seniors is the ability to get the assistance you need now and, in the future, as needed. Many seniors start out with minimal care requirements when they move into an assisted living community. If they experience changes in health or mobility, they can transition to a new, more expansive, or intense level of care without waiting to find a place to live that meets their needs. In fact, some assisted living communities also have nursing care when a resident is no longer able to provide for their own basic needs.
What is the Cost of Assisted Living in Washington?
Assisted living can look different from community to community. Even though each establishment typically encapsulates the same basic idea of providing assistance to seniors, the actual services offered may vary by community Some services are included in a basic package while additional care may be provided at an extra cost. If you view national statistics, you will notice that assisted living costs are a bit higher in the Pacific Northwest than other markets, which reflects what you likely already know about the cost of living here.
According to Genworth Financial, the monthly cost of assisted living in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region, which includes Federal Way, ranges from $3,000 per month to about $12,900 per month. The average cost is roughly $5,750 in monthly rent for an annual cost of $69,000.
According to the AARP’s online calculator, which helps help you estimate and compare the average cost of assisted living care and skilled nursing care in various regions, the cost of assisted living in the Seattle area for three years is about $243,000, while the cost of a private room in a nursing facility would be $431,424.
While researching various options, be sure to ask questions about what kind of services are included in the base rental fee set by each assisted living campus you are considering. In most communities, the rental fee covers a single apartment, meals, and light housekeeping, but one-to-one care—such as help with dressing, bathing, personal hygiene, or medication which will cost more. The apartments themselves can range in size, which will impact the monthly rate. It also depends on the specific services, amenities, and communal spaces featured on a particular campus.
If you are trying to figure out how much to budget for assisted living for the next several years, using the base rental fee is only so helpful, as many residents will need additional care at an extra cost in the future. It’s impossible to know how long you might live in assisted living. The average length of stay in an assisted living facility is about 22 months, but certainly, some residents thrive in assisted living for many years.
Options to Pay for Assisted Living
Many people delay making the move to assisted living because they falsely believe they cannot afford assisted. However, once you start crunching the numbers, you may be surprised to find the cost of assisted living in Federal Way is generally far less than the cost of in-home care if the resident needs help with several ADLs, such as meal preparation or personal hygiene.
Often, you may start with hiring a person or agency to come in for a few hours per week to assist with household tasks. As time passes, the need for care will likely increase. Instead of a few hours per week, it may become several hours each day to assist with bathing, cooking meals and dressing. At this point, the hourly cost for an in-home health care worker or agency often exceeds the cost of assisted living—not to mention you still have to cover the costs of housing, utilities, transportation, groceries and more.
There are several options to help you afford assisted living when the time comes. If you're not ready to make the move to assisted living yet, you might want to look into long-term care insurance. In the past, these policies didn’t pay for assisted living, or they paid only a portion, but newer policies have improved, and most do cover assisted living. Look for a long-term care insurance policy that includes assisted living and read the fine print. Make sure you will be covered if the time comes to seek out new living arrangements.
Long-term care insurance is only an option for those who have a few years to think about the future. However, there are other strategies that can help you if the move is coming in the next few months. A few options to afford the cost of assisted living include:
1. Life insurance
If you have a whole life insurance policy that has matured, you can get the money while you are still alive instead of waiting for death benefits. If the policy has not matured, you can still look into cashing it out if the company is willing to buy it back at a percentage of the value.
2. Veterans’ Benefits
If you have served in the military, you may be eligible for certain benefits that assist in paying for residential care. Aid and Attendance is one benefit that allows veterans or their spouses to receive assistance with assisted living if their income meets certain eligibility requirements.
3. Reverse Mortgage
A reverse mortgage is popular in senior housing finance. Reverse mortgages provide income and keep the home with the owner. This allows one person to still live in the home while the other person goes to an assisted living center. This is the ideal choice for anyone who plans to sell the home someday in the future.
4. Sell a Home
If you own your current home, the proceeds from the sale could help with the expenses of moving into assisted living. You could also rent out your home it if you aren’t ready to sell to assist with the monthly fees for assisted living.
5. Bridge Loan
Seniors may qualify for a bridge loan to help finance an urgent move to assisted living while liquidating other assets.
Annuities are a popular part of many seniors' investment portfolio. They pay in a lump sum, or you can opt to receive regular payments for a specified time.
Consider What's Included in Assisted Living
When calculating the cost of assisted living, you might compare it to the current expenses for a variety of line items. You pay for utilities, food, and upkeep of the home. You may already be paying for help with certain tasks, either through an agency or a person who comes to their home on a regular basis.
If you add up these expenses, you may discover the cost of assisted living is preferable to being a senior homeowner. When you put everything down on paper or on a spreadsheet, it can often help everyone understand how affordable assisted living can be.
Choosing Assisted Living in Federal Way
You don’t want to wait until a crisis has struck to think about long-term care and housing. Now is the best time to plan for the future and explore various retirement communities that offer assisted living in the Federal Way area.
To learn more, contact our team. We want to ensure you can plan your next steps worry-free when it comes to cost and would love to sit down with you in a no-pressure scenario and outline the options we provide to ensure we meet your specific needs. We will go over costs and care options to help you determine what is the best and most affordable fit. We can't wait to meet you!