Recently, BenefitsPro reported that senior living arrangements costs keep rising,with a national average cost of $2,520 per month for independentliving, $3,823 for assisted living and $4,849 for memory care:

To many seniors, it seems like a lot of money to pay every month– but is it really? One value-added service you can offer is a truecost assessment of what a client (or client’s parent) will actuallypay for senior living arrangements. Here are a few ideas forcreating the assessment:

  • Start with a detailed monthly budget for the senior’s livingarrangement and lifestyle. Make sure to include costs of food,vehicle, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and propertycleaning/maintenance.
  • When a senior moves into independent living, many of theseseparate costs items can disappear or be rolled into the monthlyfee. A meal plan usually is included. Many facilities also includeroom cleaning, laundry, electricity, basic cable TV and bustransportation.
  • In a competitive market, a growing number of facilities offeran active schedule of social and educational events for seniors,and some have well-equipped health clubs. You might want to assignsome value to these benefits.
  • Whether or not the senior would maintain a personal auto, aftermoving into independent living, can be a big cost factor. Giving upa car often can save $300-400 per month.
  • A basic food plan, including in the facility’s monthly rent,can be worth another $300-400 per month. Many seniors eat well onan economical plan that provides one full meal per day,supplemented by in-room breakfast, snacks and light mealpreparation.
  • You also might want to factor into your analysis the cost offamily members’ time to care for seniors still living at home. Thebest independent living facilities provide personal monitoring,which can free family members from some chores.

There are two bottom lines to the true cost assessment. One isan estimate of the difference in the senior’s monthly living costsand the costs you project after a move into a facility. The secondis an estimate of the rate at which a move into independent livingwill spend down the person’s financial assets – i.e., how longmoney can be expected to hold out. The more you know about costsand services of facilities in your market, the more valuable yourassessment will be. Be sure to study the authoritative source oflocal market cost data, Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Care Survey.

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