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Senior Living Pricing and Payment Options

Finding the right senior living community is a big commitment for you or your loved ones, both personally and financially. Costs for senior living can vary greatly depending on your location and personal needs, but there are some common factors that can help you prepare for your housing search.

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This guide is here to help you understand the different types of expenses associated with senior living and how you can pay for them. Let’s break down what you may end up paying for and how you can pay for them.

What You Pay For

The overall cost of senior living can be broken down into the following types of expenses:

  • Room and board
  • Care
  • Security deposits
  • Ancillary services
  • Annual cost adjustments

Room and Board

The first major expense associated with senior living covers the cost of housing and any amenities associated with that space. Room and board costs will help cover the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of a resident’s unit/apartment, along with ongoing accommodations found at a property. These costs can be broken down into:

Rent – A reoccurring monthly charge that covers the use of the property. Rent can be based on the overall size of the unit or the level of the amenities present at a community.

Entry fee – A one-time fee that residents may be required to pay to join a senior living community in addition to rent. These fees may or may not be required depending on the property. Entrance fee retirement communities can have the added benefit of long-term medical flexibility and high-end living.

CareElderly woman with nurse

While room and board costs cover a person’s living space and amenities, seniors may also be charged for care costs if necessary. If a senior requires ongoing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) or other medical care services, they’ll be charged for those needs. Care costs are typically charged in one of two ways:

Level of Care – A resident is charged an overall amount based on their level of care. Care experts would consider a resident’s collective care and support needs and would assign a level of care based on how much time and work it would take to properly care for the resident. The lower the level of care, the less expensive the group cost. Depending on the community, levels of care can range between 1-5.

Fee for Service – A resident is charged for every care service they require. Fee for service charges are itemized and can include helping seniors with tasks that include:

  • Getting dressed
  • Showering
  • Incontinence
  • Medication administration
  • Support with meal intake
  • Hygiene support – taking a shower, brushing your teeth
  • Prompts and cues
  • Escorts to dining room or activities

Fee for service models start off less expensive than level of care costs but can quickly surpass a base care rate depending on how much care is required.

Security Deposit

Senior living properties can charge new residents one-time fees when they first move into the community. These security deposits are designed to help protect the property against potential damage or missed payments. Unlike other charges, security deposits can be refundable if there are no delinquent charges or damages to the room.

Ancillary Services

Ancillary charges cover any costs that aren’t covered by room and board, care, or one-time fees. These fees are typically made up of optional purchases that residents can make while at their community. These ancillary costs can depend on what is available at a property, but can include a variety of purchases, such as:

  • A visit to the hair salon.
  • Country club dues or course fees.
  • Convenience store purchases.

Ancillary services can also extend to additional purchases required for residents in more care-based communities such as assisted living or memory care. These costs would apply to services that may fall outside of standard care costs, such as diabetic or incontinence supplies.

Annual cost adjustments

Like other businesses and organizations, senior living communities will make normal rate adjustments to account for the increased cost of living or as the cost of doing business fluctuates. These increases won’t come as a separate line item but will affect the overall amount that residents pay while living in senior living.

Payment Optionslooking at a phone

Now that we have an idea of the types of expenses associated with senior living, it’s time to figure out how to pay for those services. Fees can be paid via payment portal, check, or electronic funds transfer, but there are multiple sources that can help pay or reduce our costs. Here are the personal and public funding options available depending on your exact senior living situation.

Private Pay

The main way that residents pay for senior living comes is through some form of personal funding. There are a variety of personal resources that seniors and their loved ones can use to pay for senior living costs.

  • Active income
  • Social security
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Pensions
  • Annuities
  • Dividends
  • Interest payments
  • Rental property income
  • Railroad retirement benefits

Residents can also use a variety of assets to pay for their housing needs. These assets include:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Certificate of deposit (CD)
  • Treasury bill
  • Stock
  • Bond
  • Mutual fund
  • Life insurance (cash value)
  • Annuities
  • IRA
  • Long-term care (LTC) insurance

Public Benefits and Assistance

Seniors may also be able to use various public resources to help them lower their personal commitment to senior living costs. These resources are not available to everyone and may only cover certain types of senior living costs.

  • Medicaid
  • Public assistance
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Income-based housing programs (HUD and LIHTC)

Need help finding the right senior living community based on your personal lifestyle and needs? Let National Church Residences help you find a place that’s right fit.

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National Church Residences does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, payment source, or any other class protected by applicable law, whether in employment or its activities, programs, or services. National Church Residences also does not discriminate based on age, except as required by government entitlements or permitted by applicable law for seniors.