How to Pay for Senior Living: Top Frequently Asked Questions

Answering your questions about paying for senior living

There are many options when planning for retirement, including the choice to move to a senior living community (we super approve of this btw!). But, many older adults have questions about how to finance the move so they can plan ahead and be prepared when the time comes. Here’s a look at the top frequently asked questions about how to financially plan when it comes to senior living.

What is the most common way to pay for living in a senior community?

By far, the most common way to pay for senior living comes from private resources. These include investments, savings, 401k accounts, annuities, and funds from sales of real estate. One way to ensure you have the necessary means available when needed is to work with a certified financial advisor. With health care costs constantly rising, it’s essential to know all the possibilities to ensure financial security. 

Does long-term care cover senior living?

Long-term care insurance provides health care coverage that is needed over an extended period. For seniors, long-term care insurance is an excellent way to help pay for that care should it be needed for things such as a disability or a chronic condition. 

In general, long-term care insurance is to be used only for health care in Assisted Living, Memory Care, a nursing home, or for nursing care at home. Some policies also cover respite care for caregivers and/or hospice care (at Thrive, we call this “Staycation”). For a comparison of long-term care policies, the investopedia.com article, “Best Long-Term Care Insurance,” is a great place to start. 

Does Medicare cover senior living?

The short answer is no. Medicare provides medical coverage, but not for long-term care such as in Assisted Living, Memory Care, or a skilled nursing facility (which is a medical setting different from senior living communities, which are residential). 

Under a Medicare Advantage Plan (aka Medicare Part C), seniors may also have additional coverage for long-term care in Assisted Living, community services like adult daycare, in-home care, hospice, and respite care. To learn more about Medicare and what it covers, the payingforseniorcare.com blog, “Medicare Benefits for Assisted Living & Long Term Care,” can help sort it out. 

Can supplemental social security or SSI be used for senior living?

For those who qualify for supplemental social security income, it can be used to pay for senior living expenses. According to the Social Security Administration, this federal program provides additional income for people who have income and resources below set limits. Not funded by Social Security, SSI income varies from state to state and anyone who meets the following may apply:

  • Are at least age 65 or blind or disabled
  • Have limited income (wages, pensions, etc.)
  • Have limited resources (the things you own)
  • Are U.S. citizens, nationals of the U.S., or some noncitizens
  • Reside in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

Exception: The children of military parent(s) assigned to permanent duty outside the U.S. and certain students temporarily abroad may receive SSI payments outside the U.S.”

Much more about SSI and how to apply can be found on the SSI home page

Can life insurance be used to pay for senior living?

Yes and no; it all depends upon the type of life insurance policy the older adult holds. For example, policies that can be used to help pay for senior living include:

That said, we encourage you to speak with a licensed life insurance agent before purchasing or changing a life insurance policy to ensure the policy can meet long-term needs and goals.

Will veteran’s benefits help cover senior living costs?

According to the Veteran’s Administration, veteran’s benefits can be used to help pay for senior living. Elderly veteran’s benefits from the Aid and Attendance program provides “an increased monthly pension amount paid if you meet one of the conditions below:

  • You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, using the toilet, adjusting prosthetic devices or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
  • You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

In addition, older adult  veterans with complex needs can also receive geriatric health care benefits that include but are not limited to “long-term care, home-based and community services, and nursing home and residential care.” 

At Thrive Senior Living, we are here to help answer any of your questions about paying for senior living. Reach out to us today to learn more about Thrive, available living options, and our abundant amenities.