Senior Housing: Cost of Senior Housing

Senior housing costs can be very cut-and-dry, or incredibly complex.  The most important thing to remember is that senior housing does not include medical assistance. Therefore Medicare and insurance companies will not foot the bill for day-to-day living expenses. Make sure to visit the Care.com Senior Care Calculator to see the cost of care senior care near you.

If you purchase a home or condominium in a retirement community or independent living community, then you're faced with the same financial obligations you'd have with any other deed-restricted development.  There's the cost of the house itself.  If you sell your previous, spacious home before moving to a modest-sized home in a senior community, then the actual cost of the house may be covered.  But all the amenities of a retirement or senior community come at a price.  Be prepared for mandatory monthly fees of $1,000 to $2,000.  If your previous home was in a luxury development with a swim club or golf club, and you were paying for lawn maintenance and other services, then you may find the monthly fees comparable.  If you were living in a small town with low taxes, a community pool, and the next-door-neighbor mowed your lawn, the fees could come as a shock.

Senior apartments can be HUD subsidized or not.  Any HUD subsidized apartment will cost 30-percent of a senior's monthly income, and there's generally a long waiting list for units.  Non-subsidized apartments range in price from $600 a month to as much as $6,000, depending on market rates, apartment size and the amenities offered.

Independent living cottages or condos that are part of a comprehensive, continuing care campus usually are priced on a two-tier structure.  The "A" structure means residents buy into the complex, paying an entry fee ranging from $60,000 to $400,000, with a monthly fee of $1,000 to $4,000 after that.  In exchange for that financial investment, residents get a cottage or condo to call home, along with all the amenities and services offered by the facility.  They also get a guaranteed ticket into an assisted living unit or a skilled nursing unit when they need it, at no increase in monthly fee. 

In other words, moving into one of these developments while you're independent and mobile is the equivalent of buying an insurance policy. You pay while you don't need expensive services, and then you benefit when you do.  Of course, some residents don't live long enough to use nursing home care, or even many years of assisted living.  That's how these facilities manage to subsidize those who need skilled nursing care for many years.  There's also a "B" payment structure that requires a lower initial investment and may or may not guarantee a berth in assisted living or nursing care when the time comes.  In the event that nursing home care is available, the "B" plan resident must pay out of pocket when Medicare or insurance coverage runs out. 

More Senior Care Services

>>Review the Senior Care Index for all senior care options.

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