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Money Talks: Resources for Funding Your Senior Living Lifestyle

Money Talks: Resources for Funding Your Senior Living Lifestyle

Real talk time: senior living comes with a price tag (as you already know). One of the biggest worries that seniors and their families have is paying for senior living and ensuring that the money stretches as far as it can go. That’s why it’s so important to understand the different ways that seniors can pay for housing as well as long-term care. Fortunately, there are different revenue sources that seniors can look into to help pay for their care and lifestyle. Here are some of the most common.

Private funds. The most common (and perhaps easiest, if you’re financially able) way to pay for senior living is through private funds. This can be any number of things: a 401(K), savings, proceeds from selling a family home, investments, Social Security payments … anything that is paid directly from the individual falls under this bullet point. Private funds are great because, well, you don’t have to jump through hoops or deal with a lot of red tape when it comes to getting the money. After all, it’s yours!

Medicaid and Medicare. These two programs can cover senior living costs, but only to a point. Communities that are “private pay” can’t accept Medicaid or Medicare, so if that's your primary source of funding, you’ll want to ask right off the bat if a community accepts these when you’re shopping for senior housing. You also can’t use these services to pay for independent living, though they may be able to help cover some of the costs for assisted living – but not necessarily all. Medicaid and Medicare can pay for skilled nursing hospice care and some home health care services. Luckily, there are a lot of senior living communities that have experience working with Medicare and Medicaid red tape, so, don’t be afraid to ask.

Veterans benefits. If you’re a United States veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran, you may qualify for a monthly pension that you can use to help cover your senior living costs. The Aid & Attendance Program is a federal benefit that doesn’t affect your pension and is specifically for veterans and surviving spouses who need assistance and meet certain requirements. Again, unless these funds are deposited into a private checking account to use as you wish, this benefit can’t be used at a private-pay community.

Insurance. Depending on your health needs and your policy coverage, some insurance policies will cover the cost of senior living (but not independent living...starting to see a pattern here?). Long-term care insurance is a specific type of insurance that has been designed to help cover the costs of more extensive care (such as assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care facilities), but every policy is different and has its own requirements and terms. Bottom line: if you’re wondering about coverage, call your insurance company directly.

Senior discounts. Okay, this doesn’t necessarily cover senior living specifically. But there are many programs out there for seniors that offer discounts on everything from medications to travel to car insurance to just about anything you can think of. You can bet that, as the Boomer population ages, we’ll start seeing more and more of these “senior discounts” popping up everywhere. While this can’t pay for your actual living situation, these discounts and programs can help you save money in other areas, perhaps freeing up more money for housing.

Need more ideas? Want additional advice? Give us a buzz. We’re happy to give straightforward, honest advice about the cost of senior living and the ways you might be able to pay for it.

Melrose Meadows is an Independent and certified Assisted Living community in Iowa City, IA. We're passionate about educating seniors and their families about senior living and senior care. Give us a call at 319-341-7893 - we'd love to chat!

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