Exploring Our Long-Term Care Options


Today we took a drive I had been putting off for a while. We visited an assisted living facility.

No, we were not visiting a friend or relative. We went to check the place out as a future option for ourselves.

Charlie is thinking that it's time for us to consider such a move. I'm not so sure, at least not for me – yet. But we are a couple, and how do you justify one going one way and one the other if it can be avoided?

Those places are expensive!

The one we looked at is over $10,000 per month for the two of us for a two –bedroom apartment (Chuck insists we need two bedrooms because I snore – so does he, but that doesn't count). And that is the rate for independent living; the price per month rises, as more care is required. By the time memory care is required for one of us the price would be over $12,000 per month, with an estimated three percent per year rate increase!

The trick is to wait as long as you possibly can before moving to this type of facility so you don't outlive your money. If only someone could tell us how long we are going to live!

The place we visited was lovely. It was not the most expensive assisted living facility in our area either. I can't imagine what it must cost for the higher priced one.

There is another type of independent/assisted living place in the area that requires you to buy in (rates the last time I checked was $198,000 for a 2-bedroom) but with a much lower monthly fee – around $4000 and up depending on level of care required. Then, at such time as you depart this earth (and the apartment) your heirs get a 75 percent refund on the up-front cost of the apartment.

Either way, we are talking about a big chunk of money.

The other option, of course, would be a nursing home for one or both of us when the time comes that it can't be avoided. I haven't checked out nursing homes recently, but from what I have been told, a nursing home would cost as much or more than the assisted living option.

It's little wonder that so many families find themselves forced into being the caregivers for one (or more) loved ones. I say forced – some of us do it willingly and happily, feeling it is our duty to keep our loved one as comfortable as possible till the end. But we all know the cost on family life can be a nightmare.

It takes its toll on every member of the household, and if you are reading the questions from caregivers posted on AgingCare.com you know that the pressures plague extended family as well, sometimes tearing families apart.

As we live longer and longer, it's going to become vital that families start planning for long-term care like we plan for our children's college education. Unfortunately, we can't count on the long-term care being over at the end of four years. It could go on much longer, and become much more expensive.

What's a family to do? I wish I had the answers to that question.

In the meantime, I think Charlie and I will be marching in place for as long as possible.

Marlis describes herself as a “Gramma who loves technology and has a lot to say.” She blogs about whatever catches her interest: food, books, family and more. For AgingCare.com, she writes about the issues facing the elderly and her experiences caring for her husband, Charlie, who suffers from dementia.

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That's a pretty pricy sum for the "room & board", Especially Independent Living.

A word about the buy ins, (CCC) and the price quoted; it seems in line with what I see.
There is always a danger of these communities going bankrupt, it has happened Also folks who change their mind or want to move for weather or family reasons, may take a considerable 'discount' on their investment to 'get out' Paying $200,000 up front and then an additional $4,000 a month merits serious thought, there is a safety valve for folks with assets and are independent

LTC for Nursing homes or Assisted Living is getting more expensive and harder to get medically (underwritten) now a days, LTC Policies often are 'use it or lose it'

There is a hybrid solution for that however with some SPL (Single Premium Life) policies; which also feature a guaranteed return of principle, and have a built in LTC provision. They increase estate value, and do not hold clients dollars hostage* Medical underwriting is much simpler.. * Note: Policies differ, some are not this straight forward..

I have provided this option to many clients in Georgia
The place that my mother was living for 7 years started at $2,150 per mo. By the time we had to move her (money almost gone), it had gone up to almost $3,000 per month. Residents got letters about increases (due to expenses to maintain the facility) that raised the rent monthly $100-$150 per month in those last years she was there. I noticed things like they were replacing entire A/C systems, maintenance, etc. The amount of staff decreased, as did amenities that were in place when she started living there. So, what was this facility offering for their "needed increase"? This was before the ACA plan caused companies to "up" the costs to cover employees' health ins. I shudder to think what rent would cost now. Well, my mother had to move to a regular apartment and has Life Alert now and pays privately for caregiver aides. It does not cost as much as the Asst Living facility.
Well I think the prices quoted are right on. I am an only child and I was a caregiver for my parents for almost 10 years and there is no way I could take care of them at home. I have no children, but my husband and I both worked at the time. My mother had a long history of depression, anxiety, fear, and narcissism (really bad combination) that when dad had his stroke, escalated beyond belief, because dad was no longer able to "keep her under control". Dad had a stroke and for the first year he was okay, but then dementia set in and there was just no way to handle them both.

When mom had a severe "episode" and had to be hospitalized for weeks, I had to live with dad. Besides being an experience of its own, I came to realize just how much mom was hiding from me and how difficult it was for her on top of her own problems.

So I started weighing all the options of bringing a live-in caregiver to the home to provide meals and so forth. For that they would not stay the night and the price for only ten hours equated to almost $4,500 a month. Believe you me, I tried to figure out what part I could do and not do to help keep costs down.

Then I decided it was time for assisted living. When I looked into that, the cost of it was a little more than what providing live-in care was, but now I was able to get the benefits of meals provided, laundry, housekeeping, medical, medicine disbursement, and a secure place because dad could wander aimlessly and walk until his heart was content with no worries of what damage he could do. Now granted the medicine disbursement raised the cost up where that was paid, but I could not be there all day and night to issue meds.

When I finally moved them in to assisted living, the cost was just over $5,000 per month. Thankfully dad was wise with his money, and between both heir social security checks, dad's pension, and VA benefits, a big chunk of it was covered. But in a year even though housing was $60k, there were still the doctor's checks I received bills for, the lab work that was done, and a lot of other miscellaneous expenses, that when added up, pushed things to about $70k per year.

I wish I could say the facility was fair about pricing but they were not. The first year when the price increase, it was maybe like $50 up per month. It hurt, but it still was not bad. Then the second and third year, it was WAY more than the 3-5% they said it would increase, but sadly I had no options as an only child and in some ways I think they knew that.

My father died suddenly in 2011 while still in the assisted living. With his income gone, I HAD to start looking at other options. Mom had very difficult times adjusting to changes in her life and this was going to be extremely stressful all the way around. When I finally had a solution in place….. 10 months later, mom was hospitalized and passed away.

I know care is very difficult, because it was even when I had help. But I'm tired of the gouging going on. Home care should be cheaper than live-in care. They are not having to pay for the building or facility to keep a resident in. But once you are in this situation, you are basically a trapped rat!

It is not easy to make choices, but you have to do what you believe provides the best options for your loved ones. My husband and I have no children, our immediate family has their own lives and we are not super close with any of them. So since we have paid off our house, we have decided that it is okay to pay people the things that need to be done for us since all other things currently have been done.

Because of our age, we've spent our wad of money now on our house where everything has been updated in all the critical areas that it will hold us until we die. Now all we have to look for are maybe house cleaners, and yard maintainers. Maybe even a cook or two. I just keep praying we live long healthy lives!! :)