Independent Senior Living: How to Make It More Affordable?


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If you’re 55 and over, you may want a living environment that’s friendly to your age despite being self-sufficient. Somewhere with easier navigation or no maintenance, like yard work, to worry about. This can be given to you by independent living communities.

Independent living communities are housing arrangements exclusive for aging adults who need little or no assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs). They have on-site amenities, socializing opportunities, additional support, and services suitable for your age.

Since you don’t need higher levels of care like those who are in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, independent living communities are typically inexpensive. Plus, there are more ways for you to make independent living more affordable! Check them out here.

Use a Long-term Care Insurance Policy

Traditional and federal health insurance programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, don’t have assisted living coverage. To understand why, let’s see what you’ll pay in an independent living community.

The costs of independent living are typically divided into two categories specifically:

  1. Housing costs – The cost of owning or renting an apartment, home, or townhouse within the community is handled similarly to the general real estate market. It depends on the local housing market.
  1. Maintenance/Activity fee – This cost varies depending on the level and extent of activities and amenities offered by an independent living community. It may range from only a few hundred dollars to as much as a thousand dollars a month. But it can be paid either monthly, quarterly, or annually.

As you notice, independent living doesn’t cover costs related to ADLs (or activities of daily living) and medical care. That’s why most health insurance doesn’t cover them. Instead, you can pay for it out of pocket through your personal funds or social security benefits and pensions to cover the costs.

Alternatively, investing in a long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy can save more. Of course, it still comes with a cost, but it’s much cheaper than using your personal funds. You can also make it even cheaper by considering the following:

  • Invest in LTCI before 60. The premium will be lower, and you’ll likely get a much higher benefit level by age 85  since your policy will grow for ten additional years, usually at 3%.
  • Take advantage of compound inflation. Automatic inflation coverage can maximize the benefits of a smaller LTCI policy bought at a younger age over time. For example, if you buy an $80 per day LTCI policy with 5% compound inflation coverage at $150 when you’re 50 years old, it can grow to $463 per day with a total benefit of up to $500,000 when you’re 86 and need long-term care.
  • Use the pre-tax dollars in a Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay LTCI premiums. This could also mean the benefits of your LTCI are tax-free for actual expenses.
  • Buy combination life insurance/LTCI plans. You may use the cash value of an existing permanent life insurance plan to buy your LTCI. It can help either lower or get rid of the need for additional premiums.

An LTCI policy can provide you with tremendous value. With proper planning, you can find a policy that fits your situation, income, and budget. If you need more information, seek professional advice from a financial advisor.

Take Advantage of VA Benefits

You may also use your VA benefits to fund your independent living if you’re a veteran. However, note that VA doesn’t directly pay for long-term care services for you and your spouse. Instead, they can use the money provided through VA assistance for their assisted living bills.

If you’re unsure whether you’re qualified for veteran benefits, contact the nearest local Veterans Affairs office in your area right away. Once qualified, you can rely on independent living communities to obtain veterans’ benefits. They can help guide you through it and even refer some people to do some legwork for you.

Opt for Nonprofit Senior Living Community

Nonprofit senior living communities offer the same support, services, facilities, and care as for-profit housing arrangements. These include on-site recreational centers, clubhouses, spas, and other sports facilities, like swimming pools, tennis courts, and fitness centers.

The only difference is that nonprofit senior living communities offer them at an affordable price. Additionally, when they see you financially struggling to pay the housing fees, they may offer financial support to you.

For those paying residents, their fees are reinvested into the community, alongside other people’s donations. These will fund the development of staff and facilities and financial assistance to those residents who feel the pinch.

Nonprofit senior living communities are typically connected to faith-based or fraternal organizations. Hence, be rest assured that you live in a living environment great for your optimal well-being, regardless of your financial situation.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget to gather your family’s support. While it’s your choice to move to an independent living community, your loved ones can still be affected by it. They may wish to be more involved in financially supporting you than you realize. Involving them can open a discussion about what’s best not only for you but for everyone else in the family.