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Senior Living: Consider the costs of long-term care

The thought of long-term care as you age might not be a topic you want to think about. But with some planning, the process can be less painful for you and your family.

This month we’ll talk about the options and their costs.

Long-term-care costs depend on the type of care and where you receive it.

Surveys from AARP and two insurance companies, Prudential and Genworth, show comparable rates.

Rick Graffagna, with Assisted Transition, who deals with this issue frequently, says the costs of long-term care “can be daunting.”

“I encourage those looking to check out multiple options; compare the cost and the benefits; do not be afraid to negotiate and ask for concessions; seek the advice of industry experts; and finally, the most important thing, is to ensure the community you select offers the level of care needed, so you feel safe and secure,” he said.

It might cost less to stay in your home, depending on your home and needs. Consider mortgage payments, maintenance, major repairs, real estate taxes, condo fees, apartment rent, utilities, among other considerations.

Other questions you need to ask:

Can you do your cleaning, cooking, laundry? Will you need home health assistance? Each service has a cost attached, and it varies depending on the time of day you need the services.

Average hourly costs for services in the Naperville area:

Home health aid $14 to $30;

Homemaker $18 to $22 with full-day rates at $200 to $225;

Adult day care $44 to $114 per day.

You can receive assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living), such as light housekeeping, light meal preparation and medication reminders. Not included are skilled nursing care services such as medication administration, wound care, blood pressure checks or physical, occupational or speech therapy. Skilled nursing services covered by Medicare are not readily available for private hire.

Once you crunch the numbers to determine what it will cost to stay in your home, have someone review what you come up with.

If it is not feasible to stay but large community living does not appeal to you, home sharing is another option.

Home sharing is a growing concept. Generally, six or seven seniors share a home. They enjoy the comforts and advantages of single-family living in a neighborhood without the high costs. Fees include private room, television, meals, laundry, utilities, medication reminders and the support services of a resident manager. The monthly rentals run $1,100 to $1,500. Subsidies are available.

As your needs increase, so do the costs.

Assisted living facilities range from simple to luxurious. Costs are based on the services you receive and the type of facility. You can expect a basic room, food, housekeeping, assistance with ADLs and medication reminders. Although some might have all-inclusive fees, most will charge for services beyond the basics mentioned.

Some facilities require a “buy-in.” You purchase your unit and pay a monthly fee covering food, housekeeping and utilities. Most buy-in facilities require your financial resources to be two to three times the amount of the buy-in. When you leave, a portion of your buy-in is returned.

A word of caution about buy-in facilities. Research the financial condition of the facility you are considering. If it is not fiscally responsible, you or your estate might not get your money back. If they refuse to provide financial information, think twice about parting with your money.

Average monthly fees in Naperville for assisted living are from $4,000 to $6,400 with the lower range covering the cost of a studio apartment.

Nursing homes provide 24-hour care. Some have Medicaid beds, but there could be a waiting list. Fees for a semi-private room range from $200 to $300 a day and a private room from $200 to $365 a day. The daily rate covers a room, meal service, assistance with ADLs, housekeeping, 24-hour supervision, skilled-nursing care, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.

There is much to consider when making the move to long-term care. Consult with someone who is knowledgeable about this process before you make a commitment. Also involve a family member so they know your wishes.

This is a general overview of average costs. Make sure to research the facilities you are considering. The new senior web pages on the city of Naperville’s website has resources to guide you through this process.

Speaking of: Have you used the new web pages at naperville.il.us/seniorservices.aspx? I would love to hear your suggestions. We also have a project coming up that will require committed volunteers. Interested?

Karen Courney has lived in Naperville since 1970. Contact her at sunsenior living@gmail.com.

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