It is becoming harder every day for seniors to find a retirement home at a reasonable price. Healthcare costs keep rising alongside other expenses associated with healthcare. According to a study by AARP, more than 6 million people over the age of 65 fall below the federal poverty level. Some of them have to continue working past their retirement age so that they can afford to rent.
But still, there are ways you can cut down on the expenses and access safe and comfortable housing. You ought to put aside time to research and have patience during the process. In this article, we’ll be looking at factors that impact the cost of senior living and different types of housing.
Living at Home versus Retirement Accommodation
The expenses of living from home can also be significant. Other than cleaning, utility bills, and groceries, there are other significant costs like home improvement, landscaping, and plumbing. From time to time, you may have to call painters or renovate the house.
During retirement, you may have to invite caregivers to assist at home. The cost can be significant, especially if you have a condition that requires the attention of several medical professionals. You can expect home healthcare costs to be approximately $135 per visit.
As you age, your home may require considerable home improvements to facilitate mobility. Your bathroom may need remodeling to prevent fall hazards. You may have to install a handlebar next to your bathtub or stairs. Your renovation could affect the whole house, including appliances, furnishings, and bedroom furniture.
Options for Retirement Living
Some people may still want to stay at home despite the associated expenses. They may enjoy the freedom of living in their own house that they can change for home improvements as they deem fit.
However, retirement living could be a better option if you are concern about the expenses. You may want to evaluate different types of senior homes to strike a balance between cost and comfort. Some of the common options for seniors may include.
They are a collection of housing units within a community that shares amenities. The facility is usually in a resort-like setting, where the residents have access to recreational activities and maintenance services. With one monthly charge, you can get the following:
- Cleaning services.
- Home improvement services including landscaping, plumbing and repainting.
- In-house managers.
- Security System and staff.
Independent living facilities are also known as retirement villages or senior living communities. There are a variety of such facilities, with swimming pools, movie theaters, gyms, and even restaurants.
The charges for living in the community may vary depending on the size and location of the facility. You can expect the monthly expenses to be anywhere between $3000 and $5000. In some cases, it can be a more practical option compared to living at home or in other types of facilities. The accessibility to amenities may end up being cost-effective in the long run.
Assisted living is meant for people who need help with their day-to-day chores. It falls between nursing homes and independent living facilities. They are the most affordable option for those who don’t have a medical condition but require assistance with chores.
In the assisted living estate, there are houses linked to communal areas where seniors can engage in social activities. Depending on the home, there may be services such as cleaning, lawn, and weed control services. The mean cost of residing in an assisted living facility is estimated to be $4000 per month.
They are units meant for seniors that are serviced by staff. The housing units are usually located in retirement villages. They can be in the form of condos, high-rise apartments, or mobile homes. Just like independent and assisted living facilities, senior apartments may have communal areas for social activities.
It is probably the most suitable option for those living alone. You can have a private space for spiritual and mental healing that is more affordable than assisted or independent living. Some people prefer the option because the size of the housing means that there will be fewer chores.
The cost of living in a senior apartment will vary depending on location and amenities, as is with conventional real estate. Some housing units will offer some services like cleaning linen and send someone to handle chores around the house. Some facilities may charge extra for home improvement services such as repainting, fixing the roof, or eradicating a mold problem.
Life Plan Communities
Also known as Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), it provides housing for those over 60 years of age. They often have a combination of living options and packages that you will often find in assisted and independent living facilities.
They are meant to assist aging individuals whose needs may change with time. Most seniors over the age of 60 are prone to having co-occurring cardiovascular conditions. A CCRC facility will also have memory care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Some facilities include skilled nursing services.
The purpose of the community is to ensure that seniors have access to all they need while in life plan care. Therefore, social activities and excursions are often included in the package. The plan can be beneficial for couples or partners who want to live together. Both parties could access different healthcare options without having to live away from each other.
The biggest drawback to the Life Plan Community option is that it can be financially draining. In many cases, you will have to sign an agreement and pay an entrance fee. The fee can be $20,000 or more. There may also be monthly charges and other additional costs. The total fees may add up to anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
The contract you sign may guarantee you a lifetime of care. That means that when your healthcare needs change, your monthly charges will remain the same. The arrangement is ideal for people who are at risk of serious conditions.
Hiring a professional nurse may set you back $250 per day. The costs could be a financial burden if you opt for other senior living options and the state of your health changes over time. Despite the charges, the CCRC facilities may improve your overall well-being thanks to accessibility to medical care.
There are several programs from the state to the local county level. The programs may be in the form of rent certificates and housing vouchers. The options vary in benefits so as to reduce the burden of rent for aging seniors with financial hardships.
Government and private agencies set regulations for tenants. More than 1.2 million people are living in subsidized houses. The agency could have regular cleaning, child protection, and security services. The housing units may have CCTV cameras for security, and technicians such as house painters who offer home improvement services.
Most of the subsidy programs will have terms and conditions for application and eligibility. Your income and current economic situation will be evaluated before you can qualify. It can be a time-consuming process since there are bound to be waiting-lines. You may have to look for other alternatives as you wait in line for subsidized accommodation.
Some seniors find the process of applying for the subsidized housing complex and stressful. However, you can improve your chances by consulting a professional from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Sharing a Home
If you are widowed or single, you may find spiritual and mental healing by sharing a house with other people. You could move in with your children or other members of your family. You may share rent or other home improvement expenses like repainting or fixing a damaged roof.
You could also pick a suitable home to share with another senior. While you may share rent with a college student, your different perspectives on life can affect your comfort level. At the same time, you may be in a better position to understand a fellow retiree and work out your relationship dynamics.
As opposed to living in your own home, you will have some companionship when you choose to share accommodation. You will have someone to cook, dine, and talk to, during those years of retirement when you can feel lonely. Your housemate can also provide security and safety, for when one of you is sick or in danger.
But there are some downsides to sharing a house. First, you will need to find someone who fits your requirements for an ideal housemate. You can find a suitable mate by handling the screening process with professionalism. The problem is that it may take time to get the right candidate.
Once you decide on the mate to share the house with, you can use agreements to manage the expectation of both parties. You ought to spell out issues of privacy and finances to reduce disagreements that could strain your relationship down the line. Before you move in, decide how you will settle expenses such as rent, utility bills, as well as home improvement costs such as heating & cooling maintenance costs.
You also want to ensure that you are comfortable living with a stranger, pre-screening notwithstanding. There are unwritten rules on privacy that may strain you if you are fussy about your personal space. For example, your housemate may spend so much time in the living room, that it effectively becomes their territory.
Ways to Find Affordable Senior Housing
The cost of senior facilities is usually more expensive than regular housing. The house has to undergo modifications to make it fit for those with mobility and health conditions. It could mean moving medical equipment within the proximity of the building. The apartment may also require custom home improvements, such as the installation of safety bars, ramps, or even new bathtub & shower installations that are designed to accommodate seniors.
The home improvement translates to additional fees for the tenant. Fortunately, you can cut down the amount of money you spend on your retirement housing. Through research, patience, and careful planning, you can find a home at a reasonable rate.
Examine the Contract
Housing establishments will often include the monthly charge, which may be coupled with extra costs. Some agreements, like those for the life plan community, are complex and extensive.
Keep in mind that what is included in the monthly package may vary. What may seem affordable at first could prove to be expensive in the long-run.
Take Time to Shop Around
If you have just started planning retirement living. You may not be aware of what’s on offer. The industry has grown in the last decade, and there are more housing units with varied options.
There are many options besides nursing homes and assisted living facilities. By taking the time to weigh the available package against your state of health and preferences, you can save money and avoid stress.
For example, if you are single or widowed, living in an apartment can help you cut costs. If you have been diagnosed with a serious health condition, a life plan community could prove to be a wiser option for the long term.
Your preferences are also important because they will determine how well you adjust to the move. There are certain housing plans that make an extra effort to make the accommodation fit for seniors. Your community could have access to yoga or meditation classes. Some have provision for CBD oil and medicinal cannabis strains, for those who want to use these natural alternatives.
Look Beyond Urban Areas
Remember that senior housing works like real estate – more or less. Urban units attract more tenants, and that means higher rates. Whether you are looking for apartments or an independent living community, you are more likely to affordable housing options.
The outskirts of urban areas may have a facility with the features you are looking for at the right price point. But pay attention so that you do not pay for what is non-essential to you. Do you really need a facility with a movie theater and restaurant? Having fewer options in the package often translates to lower housing fees.
There are many options for retirement living. Even as you work on finding a reasonably priced unit, don’t ignore your comfort and taste. Always remember that home improvement can help you achieve virtually everything you dreamed of.