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4935254It’s important for Alabama seniors to plan ahead when it comes to paying for a move to an Assisted Living community because they may not be able to rely on family or the state government to help when the time arrives.

Alabama is one of the six states with no Medicaid waiver program for those who fall within the gap of needing assistance with daily tasks and those requiring more comprehensive care in a nursing home. Sometimes seniors simply need help with grooming, bathing and oral hygiene. The Alabama Medicaid Agency does make available waivers to assist people in economic need for long term care but does NOT apply to assisted living communities where residents are capable of handling some activities on their own.

According to Assistedlivingcommunities.org, the average cost of assisted living in Alabama (base cost for a one-bedroom unit) is $3,075 per month, compared to $3,600 nationally.

So how are older adults to pay for the care they need? Here are a few options to explore:

  • Veterans Benefits: Called Attendant and Aid, this provides monthly benefits to certain wartime Veterans with financial need, and to surviving spouses. The amount varies and one does have to first qualify with the US Veterans Administration. This can be an extensive process requiring the preparation of documents such as discharge or separation papers, death certificates for surviving spouses, income statements, etc. Regency works with a company called Elder Resource Benefits to walk Veterans through the steps and get them approved. Regency has a program called Homes 4 Heroes that is specifically designed for veterans and their spouses to make living here easier.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Features and benefits vary by the insurance company and by the policy, so it is important to read it carefully. It normally does not cover pre-existing conditions or care currently being given. Assistedlivingcommunities.org recommends that seniors comparison shop and check for exclusions and limitations, relying on more than advice from an insurance agent or broker who is trying to make a sell.
  • Life Insurance: Traditionally used to pay for estate planning, some policies can be converted to long-term care plans to cover some of the cost of senior care by directly paying the assisted living community. A disadvantage of this strategy is giving up proceeds that heirs might receive upon a senior’s death. Elder Life Financial is a company Regency refers to seniors thinking of going this route.
  • Reverse Mortgages: Once a homeowner is 62, he or she can use some of the equity as collateral, allowing them to receive cash against the value of their home without selling it. The mortgage becomes due when the last surviving homeowner moves out or passes away. After paying off the reverse mortgage, remaining equity goes to the estate. Failure to keep up with property taxes can lead to foreclosure, so proceed with caution. Home equity loans differ from Reverse Mortgages.
  • Line of Credit: A bridge loan from a company like Elder Life Financial helps a senior pay for an immediate move to a senior living community while paperwork is processed through the VA, a policy is converted to pay for long-term care or a home sits on the real estate ready to sell.
  • Private Funds: Those best situated to pay for assisted living care are those with a steady stream of pension payments to draw from in retirement, annuities, stock market investments, savings and CDs, or 401Ks, IRAs or similar types of retirement accounts.

For those who might still struggle to pay for senior care, other options include getting part-time work, companion living arrangements, or filing for medical disability and supplemental security income SSI benefits.

These are complex matters that require serious deliberation. Regency’s community consultants are ready to help refer potential residents in the direction of experts who can get paperwork filed and people qualified.

For more information about Homes 4 Heroes, visit https://regencytuscaloosa.com/retirement-home-amenities/homes-4-heroes . To speak with one of our community consultants about moving to Regency Retirement Village of Tuscaloosa, call (205) 752-5500 or fill out the form on the right side of this web page.

Written by Steven Stiefel