Paying for Assisted Living

It's not easy paying for assisted living.  Here are some tips.  Let's make it clear that in most cases you will pay out of your own pocket.  But there are some programs you may qualify for:

Long Term Care Insurance

  • With people living longer, the younger generations are beginning to take notice of long term insurance for paying for assisted living, but, unfortunately, most of the present generation of baby boomers do not have this to help offset assisted living costs.  The general feeling is why pay for something I may never need.  But today people are living longer and there is more chance that you will need to pay for assistance in your senior years.

Seek the advice of a financial planner or insurance provider especially if you are single or have in your family a long term illness such as diabetes or Alzheimer's.

Veterans Benefits

  • The military has some great benefits for those who were in the military in war years and surviving spouses and meet qualifications. The VA Aid and Attendance Program has been around since 1951, yet many military who are eligible do not know about it.Seek out a financial planner who knows about this program or the Veterans Administration. See our article here about the program.

In addition, the VA has other programs for assistance benefits such as their Adult Day Care, Home Aide and Respite programs.  These are helpful to relieve stress on the caregiver.

Low Income Housing

  • There is assistance for those of low income who need it through HUD and private builders of affordable assisted living facilities that are restricted to those who meet the income guidelines.

There can be long wait lists if these are established or popular.  If you find a new community, you should act quickly or get on the wait list.  

Medicare:  Most people think that assisted living facilities will be paid by medicare if they run out of money--unfortunately, no. Medicare is a short-term benefit when you have had an illness in a nursing home and require home care for a short period of time after you leave that care.

You pay for assisted living out of your own pocket.  Further, you must be able to afford the costs of a facility, and your income and assets will be taken into consideration by the them to determine if you qualify for the monthly fee. 

Medicaid:  If you qualify for the medicaid program, this can be an invaluable financial assistance if you or your loved one becomes ill and need nursing home care.  There are income and assets limits.  Ask if the community takes medicaid applicants.  

Lease terms at facilities

This is good news about assisted living:  Most facilities are on a month-to-month rental basis so that it is easy to move out should your circumstances change. Remember that the costs increase if you need more services as you age. See our article on Assisted Living Costs for more information. 

How to pay for assisted living or long term care is one of the top 3 concerns of seniors.  People are living longer and working longer to bulk up their savings in the event they will need a healthcare facility of some type in their older age.  In addition, 70% of seniors over the age of 85 have signs of Alzheimer's, a disease that usually affects people over 65.   

Limited income communities

  • If you have limited income, there are low-income assisted living communities that are available to those who meet the income restrictions either through HUD or private builders of low income properties. But if you make more than the low income guidelines, you cannot gain admittance, and, there may be additional requirements and audits.  These communities can have long waiting lists.  They can satisfy your need for low cost if you can supplement with home health care or adult day care. 

All-inclusive fee facilities offer the best value as well as facilities with less services:

  • Do a cost comparison of facilities you like.  The all inclusive fee communities are the best value wise, and/or the facilities with fewer services, under 5, generally cost less.


  • This can be a good option if you are able to move.  Some areas of the United States for assisted living facilities and services cost much less than other areas.  Even moving from city areas to country areas might be a considerable cost savings.  You can download a list, by state, of average assisted living costs on the Met Life Website Download Market Survey and go to page 20.   Compiled by Met Life, you can see that some regions the average cost is higher than other regions of the United States.  

A more recent survey of assisted living costs by cities and states was done by Genworth in 2014.

Home Aides

See if you qualify for any of the benefits mentioned above.  Other options include (check out the average costs for your state for these services with the Gencare site, listed above):

  • Home maker services in your own home for companionship, meals and help or 
  • Adult Day Care.  These programs usually cost less than care in a facility.
  • Respite Programs - You leave the person needing care temporarily in a facility while you take a needed break.

Again, paying for assisted living is paid for by you from your own resources. 

    In general, an assisted living facility will cost a little more than it costs to live in your own home.  You can do a comparison sheet which is available at facilities to compare how much it costs to live in your home with how much it costs to live in a facility.

    The facility will be a little more but includes your meals, shelter, activities, services and amenities and sometimes transportation. All the necessities of life with the added conveniences and easier living. 

    Compare the costs at different facilities to get the best value for you. See our article on assisted living costs.

    Financial Planners:

    A financial planner may be able to help if you seek help early on in retirement before your money runs out, and they may be able to help to prevent that from happening with some planning.

    Please verify all information in Paying for Assisted Living. Consult with financial planners and other professional advisors. This article is for information only--please do thorough investigations of all information.

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