What to Consider When Comparing Senior Living Costs
When you’re starting to look into senior living communities, you realize quickly that there’s a great deal of information to understand and organize. Cost can be a main deciding factor—but the total sum doesn’t always tell the whole story, and it’s important to learn what’s included in the cost and what you can expect from the retirement community if you have care needs in the future.
Here are some of our insights into what to consider when comparing senior living costs.
Amenities (included and optional)
Amenities—both included and optional—are a large part of the monthly dues. They can range from the common, like housekeeping and fitness centers, to the exclusive, like an in-house theater room and virtual golf simulator. It will help to get all the details on what’s included in monthly dues and whether there’s a limit to amenities like in-house meals, fitness classes, and social activities. Communities may also offer optional fee-based amenities, like transportation services, parking, and concierge services, that you pay for on an as-needed basis. We recommend starting with a list of the services you know you enjoy and need the most, and then identify whether those are included in the community’s monthly fees.
Care services you’ll need—now and later
Even if you don’t require care now, it’s important to anticipate changing needs and factor in possible care costs when comparing retirement communities. For example, if you do require future care, will you have to pay a flat rate for all assisted living services or can you pay only for the care services that you need? Are there specific apartments within the community designated for assisted living services or will you be able to stay in your original apartment home if you need more support? If you would like to stay put after moving into a retirement community, you might decide that the value of being able to receive care in your original apartment home is worth some extra expense.
Most senior living communities have additional one-time fees that you pay before moving into your new apartment. Oftentimes, these fees are either a lower, non-refundable payment or a much higher fee that will be refunded to your estate in the future or it will be refunded directly to you if you should decide to move out of the community. When comparing senior living options, ask about the additional fees so that you can consider what pricing structure works best for your current budget and financial plans.
The best lifestyle for you
Choosing a senior living community is more than just amenities and medical assistance: it means choosing a neighborhood, social and dining options, and a certain community spirit. Even within multi-community companies like Era Living, each community location can have a unique feel from its area, residents, building and grounds, and staff. And since location popularity and convenience affects all real estate, this will factor into the price of senior living as well.
But you might choose the community based on proximity to family and friends, the bustle of the city, or your preferred doctors and hospitals. If you’re active and love being social, you may want a community that offers a thriving fitness and activity calendar. You may be thinking about giving up driving, and realize it would help to have a reliable transportation service in-house. You may want the peace of mind that can come with in-house medical staff. While you’re thinking about all this, it may help to make a list of questions to ask yourself before and during your search as you figure out what works best for you.
At Era Living, we’re here to help you through the process of choosing the community that’s perfect for you. Get in touch with any questions, and we can help you schedule a phone interview or a tour to explore your options.