As people age, it is important to consider the options available and which one is right for you or your loved one as planning is essentially aging well.
“Senior Living Communities are no longer the hospital-like environments some older adults may think they are,”
says Christopher Lyboldt, the owner of Senior Care Authority Atlanta. Senior Care Authority helps families navigate the overwhelming and emotional journey of finding the best possible care solution and living environment for older loved ones. Lyboldt started the company with his wife, Daryl, a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), after becoming caregivers for his father-in-law.
What is the range of care costs?
This range can be diverse depending on where you live but Lyboldt says a good rule of thumb is that senior living costs will generally parallel the real estate prices in the zip code where a person is seeking care. Pricing increases when the level of care increases. Independent living, by definition, does not include care in its pricing and is therefore the most affordable. As care increases, so does cost. The following are general guidelines, (but not absolutes) in the Atlanta area:
- Independent Living $2,500–$4,200 per month
- Assisted Living $3,200–$8,500 per month
- Memory Care $4,400–$12,000 per month
- Personal Care Home $2,500–$7,500 per month
When the Coronavirus arrived in March, many of the senior living communities quickly put protocols in place to protect the safety of their residents and staff. “In heroic fashion, the staff in most senior communities enacted these protocols with great discipline and managed to minimize and even prevent incidents of infection,” says Lyboldt.
Unfortunately, even with these protocols, many senior living communities were impacted by the virus, and those stories became headline news. Finding a safe senior living community was a difficult decision before COVID-19 and has now become even more complicated. Fortunately, the heroes who work in senior living communities are taking extreme precautions to protect their seniors. Partnering with professionals, like Senior Care Authority, helps educate families about what measures are being taken and the overall safety record of any senior living community. Even in the midst of the pandemic, a senior living community might be the best care solution for an aging loved one.
Lyboldt works to help clients understand the differences between care facilities. “Some seniors are more social and love the resort-style living of some communities. Others prefer to age in place at home. We meet with the client to determine lifestyle, personal preferences, location, care needs, and budget. We match the client with a few potential communities and take them on a tour. The goal is to bring visibility to the many options available. In many instances, a move from the isolation of one’s personal home into a senior living community enables older adults to thrive. That was the case with my father-in-law, and we love it when that happens.”
How do people pay for long-term care?
As people age, it is important to understand the level of care that is needed. Does an older adult require assistance with the activities of daily living, like getting dressed, eating, remembering to take their medicine or bathing? Or do they require additional assistance that may warrant constant supervision associated with the different stages of dementia?
Eldercare Advisors, like Lyboldt, can offer placement services to families at no cost because they are compensated by the senior living community. Other services that are not associated with placement, like peace of mind visits for loved ones who live far away, are fee-based. Care Managers or Advisors like Riverside Care Advisors can provide peace of mind visits for loved ones who live far away or help vet other care agencies.
Considering the options available and which one is right for you or your loved one is an important conversation to address; not everyone has the personal assets or savings for this type of care. Medicare does not cover long term care support, so planning ahead is essential.
Classes and tools are available to help older adults learn to do some of these things on their own as well. GetSetUp offers classes that can help facilitate some daily living tasks like learning how to use online bill pay and banking, having groceries delivered, or learning how to use rideshare apps to help facilitate transportation to medical visits and other events.
Creating a safe space to age, discussing aging, and planning for changes means that we can change the perception of aging to make it healthier, happier, and more positive.