Three Senior Living Budgeting Tips

Nov 9, 2023 | Finance & Planning

Researching senior care options for yourself or someone you love can feel challenging and overwhelming. Not only are there different levels of senior care, but every community has its own price structure, services, and amenities. It’s never too early to begin researching your options. Planning for senior living is easier if you create a budget before you retire, evaluate the practicality of aging in your own home, and learn about the senior care options in your area.

1. Create A Budget Before You Retire

The best way to prepare for senior care is to create a budget before you retire. Not only will this help you understand how your spending will change living on a fixed income, but you can also plan for traveling or hobbies without worrying about running out of money.

Even though retirees over the age of 65 are covered by Medicare, they still have out-of-pocket healthcare costs. A 2022 report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that 25% of a retiree’s social security benefits went toward medical costs. If you already know your monthly income sources and expenses, you can make adjustments for changing healthcare costs as you get older.

2. Evaluate the Practicality of Aging In Your Own Home

Planning for your retirement years should include where you want to live. Many people prefer to stay in their own homes as they age, but doing so safely usually requires some home upgrades. Simple modifications like grab bars and nonslip rugs can be relatively inexpensive. Larger projects like walk-in showers, widening doorways to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, and installing a chairlift can get expensive. You might also need to hire someone to help you around the house or run errands. The hourly rate for an in-home caregiver is $27. The hours can quickly add up if you need help multiple times a week.

For many retirees, a senior living community is a cost-effective way to bundle all their bills into one monthly expense and settle into a community that’s equipped to take care of their future healthcare needs. This is especially true of Independent Living residents, who typically move in before they need extra care and can enjoy retirement free from raking leaves or shoveling snow.

3. Research Levels of Senior Care and Costs

The realities of getting older mean that most of us will need extra help, whether that’s some assistance around the house or medical care. The Administration on Aging estimates that 69% of people who are 65 today will need senior care. Taking time now to research the different levels of senior care and the associated costs will better prepare you for the day you or your spouse need additional care.

Senior living costs vary by geographic region, but here’s what you can expect on average:

Independent Living is ideal for retirees who want an active lifestyle without worrying about home maintenance or yard work. Residents live in private apartments or condo-style homes and pay one monthly fee that bundles rent, utilities, and all the other expenses.

The average monthly cost for Independent Living in 2023 is $3,170.

Assisted Living is a higher level of care than Independent Living. Residents still have private rooms or apartments but get extra help with activities of daily living like showering, managing medications, and meals. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover the cost of Assisted Living.

The average monthly cost for Assisted Living in 2023 is $4,774.

Skilled Nursing is what most people think of as a “nursing home.” Residents typically need some kind of medical care and the facility has licensed medical staff. Some people stay short-term at skilled nursing facilities to recover from illness or injury. Skilled Nursing facilities usually accept Medicare or Medicaid.

The average monthly cost for Skilled Nursing in 2023 is $8,390.

You can learn more about the different levels of senior care and costs in our guide “Navigating the Financial Aspects of Senior Living.” It’s free to download and is a great place to start if you’re researching senior living options for yourself or a loved one.

Explore Your Senior Living Options at Sunset

Sunset is a Life Plan Community, which means we help residents age in place by offering multiple levels of care in the same organization. With options for independent living, assisted living, memory care, and in-home care, we can help you find a senior living community that feels like home. Have questions about our communities or services? We’d love to answer your questions and show you around. Call us at 616.457.2770 or send us a message online.