When you start looking at a senior living center either for yourself or for a loved one, you may be pleasantly surprised to see what wonderful options you have available. Today, modern senior living communities put an emphasis on a well-rounded lifestyle and personalized care. Many options offer luxury amenities, too, with lifestyle services that extend beyond primary senior care.  If you’re debating assisted living vs. independent living, or if you’re wondering if Medicare coverage will be affected by your choices, let’s go over some things that may factor in your decision.

The following five tips may help you as you compare senior living community options:

  1. Consider the community at large

Do you prefer city living, where you have lots of theatrical and musical performances to enjoy or dining and shopping opportunities? Maybe you prefer to be in a more laid-back area, full of nature , outdoor recreation and peaceful walking trails. Either way, take the time to tour towns and communities and make sure that they fit your needs and preferences.

  1. Proximity to family and friends

Is your potential senior living community close enough to your family and friends? If you love spending time with your friends and family, you don’t want to move too far away from them. Take a look at communities closer to your loved ones. You may also consider public transportation or access to roads and highways if you drive.

  1. Set a budget

Senior living communities come in a broad range of price points. Assisted living and independent living options will vary greatly in amenities and costs. To avoid disappointment and frustration in your search, it’s critical that you establish a realistic budget for the search that is based on any available resources. Consider your healthcare costs as well if you require any kind of care. Medicare coverage for skilled nursing facilities may help temporarily, but Medicare doesn’t help pay for custodial care. When reviewing your budget, consider the following:

  • Family contributions
  • Life insurance
  • Local government programs
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Other assets you can leverage or sell
  • Pensions, annuities, or retirement income
  • Real estate assets you can leverage or sell
  • Social security
  • Veteran’s benefits
  1. Do floor plans, amenities, and services match your needs?

Senior living communities can include different types of housing options, including single family homes, condos, apartments, or shared spaces. Many communities will offer a range of activities and amenities, including, but not limited to: a fitness center on site, scheduled transportation, available laundry, scheduled recreation, guest parking, and more. You should make a list based on your personal preferences so that you can narrow down options.

  1. Changing healthcare needs

The healthcare you need may affect the type of senior living community you move into. You deserve to feel secure and have peace of mind, now and in the future. If your current home doesn’t meet your changing healthcare needs, you should consider looking into other options. Your Medicare coverage may be affected if you move into or out of a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. It could also change if you move out of your current Medicare Advantage plan’s service area. Once you narrow down your list, rank all of the ones you toured or contacted. If you have questions regarding your Medicare coverage, speak to your current plan directly.

How Much Senior Living Communities Cost

Depending on the location, living in an independent living community geared for seniors and retirees can cost thousands of dollars per month. If you choose an assisted living facility, the price can range between $3,500 to $10,500, or higher depending on your needs and preferences. Medicare will not cover the cost of an assisted living facility or a long-term residential care program, like memory care or a nursing home, so consider your out-of-pocket costs as you compare your options.

Related articles:

Does Medicaid Cover Long Term Care?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Comparing Skilled Nursing Facilities? Questions to Ask