Top 5 Myths about Assisted Living Costs
Most people have various pre-conceived notions about assisted living, many of which surround the costs and ways to pay for assisted living. We’re here to dispel common assisted living cost myths so you can make a better, more informed decision as you consider assisted living.
Myth #1: Assisted living is too expensive.
Fact: Assisted living costs vary widely depending on several factors including your location, level of care and apartment size. People often spend more money paying separately for mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, and entertainment, than they would for assisted living. You can find a list of average cost of assisted living based on your state here and can use our affordability calculator to compare your current living expenses to the cost of living at an Enlivant community.
Myth #2: Keeping my loved one at home and being their primary caregiver is more affordable.
Fact: Over time, many caregivers find this option actually creates more personal stress and financial burden than other care options. To begin, caring for a loved one requires a significant time commitment—an average of 21 hours a week. Consider as well the amount of work you are likely to miss due to your caregiving responsibilities. More than 65 percent of caregivers miss some work, and more than half have lost income due to the demands of providing care. If you need to hire an in-home care aid at an average $14-24/hour, those costs can add up very quickly as well.
Myth #3: Medicare will pay for assisted living.
Fact: While skilled nursing facilities accept Medicare, assisted living facilities typically accept only private pay or long-term care insurance. Medicare does not provide coverage for assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and medication management. Visit Medicare.gov for more info.
Myth #4: Only veterans who were injured qualify for veteran benefits.
Fact: Many veterans and their spouses are eligible for up to $2,000 of tax-free aid per month toward assisted living care services, thanks to the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit. They only need to have served 90 days active duty (at least one day during wartime). To find out if your loved one qualifies for this assistance, contact your local VA office.
Myth #5: Assisted living costs are not tax deductible.*
Fact: Medical expenses, including some assisted living care expenses, are tax deductible if the expenses are more than 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. In order for assisted living expenses to be tax deductible, a doctor must certify that the resident is “chronically ill” meaning they need help with at least two daily living activities (e.g. bathing, dressing, eating) or require supervision due to a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Personal care services must also be provided according to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care provider. Most assisted living communities, like Enlivant, provide care plans for their residents.
Knowledge is power as you explore assisted living and other care options. For more assisted living budgeting information and to compare your options, please visit Argentum’s cost resource.
*This information isn’t intended to be tax advice. Please consult a tax expert.