Truth: senior care is expensive, and you can’t rely on Medicare to pick up the bill (read more about paying for care).
When a family member takes on the responsibility of caring for an older adult, the cost is equally great. While out-of-pocket expenses may seem to be dramatically less, the cost in lost wages — as many often have to leave part- or full-time jobs to be caregivers — and the emotional and physical toll on the caregiver and his/her family is a tremendous sacrifice.
It’s never an easy decision, but each family must weigh the options and choose what is best and most affordable, whether the cost is in dollars or time.
Here are a few tips on where to spend and where to save:
- Spend: On the people providing care. The staff, particularly those providing direct care and services, are vitally important in the quality of the care experience.
- Save: On the outward appearance. Cleanliness is important, but how a community looks — the style of furniture, lavish landscaping, and how many chandeliers are in the dining room, for example — is not.
- Spend: On access to more care and services as needed. Many communities provide a base amount of services and charge extra for anything above and beyond. Ask about the fine print here, and know what the true monthly cost will be based on what the individual needs.
- Save: On luxury amenities. Walking trails are lovely, gourmet meals are great, and access to a wi-fi network or cable TV are terrific perks, but these things should not take priority over daily care (besides, the senior living community is not the only place for seniors to enjoy these things).