When they first see the cost of assisted living, many people are taken aback. Their first reaction is that it’s “too expensive,” especially compared to having the senior just live at home. While this initial response is understandable, it’s not quite accurate. You need to take into account all the benefits that assisted living provides, and compare it to total monthly expenses incurred outside of assisted living, before you make a judgment.
To get an accurate sense of the relative cost, you need to start with an accurate budget. Look at your financial records closely and see what you really spent over the last few months. It’s easy to underestimate what you spent on food, for example, and forget about small impulse purchases.
Once you do that, you are more prepared to evaluate the price tag of a given assisted living facility. The monthly fee will cover all basic needs: food, housing, and utilities. In addition, that fee also provides housekeeping, health monitoring, repairs and maintenance of your living space and yard, security, entertainment, and trash removal.
You should especially consider the value of the social activities that assisted living facilities provide. Many seniors are isolated living on their own, or skimping on entertainment in order to save money. But in assisted living these things are part of the whole package. Many seniors value these living arrangements precisely because of the chance to have a good time with people their own age. Activities and socialization also help seniors maintain their physical and mental well-being.
Senior couples may receive additional value from assisted living that aren’t immediately revealed by the numbers. Many wives see their workloads increase when their husbands retire, as they now have to care for someone full-time. Assisted living can finally allow both partners to take a break because someone else is worrying about the chores. Husband and wife can simply enjoy each other’s company instead.
Don’t let the price of assisted living deter you from taking a closer look. People forget to take into account all the things that assisted living provides which inflate the cost of the senior living on their own. And it’s impossible to put a price on enjoying those last years without worry about the lawn or the leaky roof, and also knowing that you or your loved one has someone immediately available to help them, at any time of the day or night. You’ll likely find, as many have, that assisted living is actually a better value than your other options.