Dealing With the Rising Costs of Assisted Living

Sooner or later, if we live long enough, chances are we may need some sort of assisted care. Many seniors live in assisted care communities or facilities, where they can get the kind of medical care and assistance with daily living that they need. This would all be well and good if the cost of assisted living wasn’t rising at an exorbitant rate every year. The numbers are staggering, putting the price of assisted living firmly out of reach for many seniors and the families that want to provide the very best living situation for their elderly loved ones.

Consider the following facts:

• A 2013 Cost of Care Survey revealed that the cost of Assisted Living rose 4.55% since 2012; the largest rate of increase among all categories of senior care in that time period
• A 2013 report by Genworth Financial put the median cost of a private room in a residential assisted living facility in 2013 at $230 a day, a 3.6% increase over 2012.
• Those living in residential assisted living facilities can expect a 3-5% annual rate increase in their base rate

These numbers are staggering, and there appears to be no end to these increases in sight. When you stop to consider that some 10,000 citizens will retire each day for the next 19 years, the issue is one that is literally crying out for solutions. Politicians and lawmakers, both at the state and federal level, are looking at the issues, but the red tape and special interests that mark these proceedings promise that any potential answers aren’t forthcoming in the short term. So what are seniors and their families to do?

Depending on the level of care needed, seeking in-home help in the form of a nurse or senior companion to help with minor medical issues and day-to-day activities is a much more affordable option. Many seniors are living at home (either theirs or the home of a loved one) longer out of necessity, and licensed home health aides can help to make this scenario run much more smoothly.

In the meantime, we can only hope that as a society the concept of assisted living is not one that, due to finances, will someday be cost prohibitive to all but the very richest among us. With these costs it is better recommended to find a better alternative. These issues would truly be doing seniors and their families a disservice that they simply do not deserve.