Money Matters: Know costs of assisted living

March 3, 2017 01:30

Sponsored by NEFE

While many families remain hopeful that their aging parents can live at home indefinitely, the time may come when moving to an assisted living facility may become necessary. Assisted living is a step between in-home care and a nursing home, and while it can be less expensive than full-time nursing home care, it is not cheap. The national average cost is around $3600 a month, and can rise if more than basic services are needed. As with any service, it pays to shop around.

As Consumer Reports explains, it's important to research the options that are available in your area, to consider the available services and their costs, and to tour the facilities to ensure they will suit your parents' needs. They also recommend developing a long-term strategy for payment, and seeking out financial assistance. Finally, they suggest evaluating facilities based on their staff and services, rather than their amenities. Some assisted living facilities try to "sell" their resort-like features, designed more to impress the adult children of potential residents than the residents themselves.

To help your listeners/viewers/readers understand their options for assisted living, compare the faculties and their services in your area. Check references and talk with your county's long-term care ombudsman or state attorney general's office to learn about positive and negative reviews. And seek out professional care managers who are independent (who don't get commissions for referring people to specific assisted living facilities), who can talk about the pluses and minuses of the options available in your market.

Sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education
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Syndicated columnist and radio host Terry Savage entered the 2016 NEFE/RTDNA awards contest with her ongoing series of personal finance stories, including a post about how to handle investments as the stock market rises.