Build a Recommended Partners Network
Senior housing choices can get complex and may require expertise. If you lack that expertise, consider referring clients in need eldercare advice to a Certified Financial Planner. Build a recommended partners network, including:
- Elder care attorneys
- Family counselors
- Senior housing leadership
- Specialists in long-term care financing
- Home care experts
- Geriatric care managers
The Cost of Assisted Living
The average national annual cost of assisted living is $48,612, and a private room in a nursing home is $102,204.10 Assisted living facilities provide personal care and health services for people who may need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). The level of care provided is not as extensive as that which may be provided in a nursing home. Nursing homes provide higher levels of supervision and care than in an assisted living facility. They offer personal care, room and board, supervision, medication, therapies, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing 24/7.
Each assisted living community has its own pricing model, but monthly costs typically cover:
- Appliance repair or replacement
- Meal plan
- Recreation and entertainment
- Fitness center
- Beauty salon/barbershop
- Craft workshop
- Scheduled transportation
Finding prices for assisted living can be challenging because of the complexity of individuals’ needs. It’s rare to find baseline pricing online. To get accurate pricing, clients, and their families, should visit a community, get a full tour, talk with the residents, and then have a conversation with the facility staff about their needs and financial resources.
Health Advantages of Assisted Living
Assisted living communities are designed for mobility and accessibility while also offering expert care and medical attention, if needed. Residents are served three meals a day that are tailored to the specific health needs of seniors. Maintenance is taken care of, so the risk of falls are reduced, e.g., there’s no need to climb up on a chair to change a light bulb.
The Social Advantages of Assisted Living
Assisted living offers socialization through planned activities and outings, such as field trips, dancing, and cultural events. Daily living in the common areas also offers fun and socialization for seniors. Plus, there’s a better chance to stay engaged living in a community of people of similar age dealing with similar issues.
Should Advisors Really Get Involved in Senior Housing Conversations?
It takes time and effort to initiate senior housing discussions with clients. But, because of demographic trends, advisors who don’t participate in these conversations may miss a business opportunity. By the year 2030, 20% of our population will be 65 and older.12 At that point, clients will be less interested in golf, travel, and beaches and more focused on where they want to live.
Dr. Joe Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab says it’s imperative to focus on the needs of aging clients. “Because population aging will manifest in such dramatic-yet-predictable ways, when companies make long-term plans for the future, there should be nothing higher on their priorities list than preparing for an older world,” says Coughlin. “It’s worth planning for the unexpected, after all, but only after you prepare for the guaranteed.”
Even if your current clients in their 50s aren’t concerned about senior housing for themselves, they’re probably dealing with these issues for parents. Becoming knowledgeable and willing to have conversations about senior housing can help differentiate your practice and can help you retain clients who are concerned about their housing options.
You can help by starting discussions about senior housing options with aging clients. If you bring it up, let clients know that you realize it’s not an easy topic to discuss. But remind them that it’s better to discuss it sooner rather than later, when their options for insurance or care may be fewer and the costs may be higher.
To summarize, we’ve covered:
- Aging in place: Cost, social, and health impact
- Assisted living: Cost, social, and health impact
- Why advisors should have these conversations
Help Clients Plan for Change
Change is hard. However, taking action and making plans for tomorrow can actually make tomorrow easier. At some point, aging clients will have to decide whether to age in place or move to an assisted living community. Some will to refuse to discuss the possibility of moving, while others will more open. Be there to begin the conversation. Help them anticipate their senior housing needs including, health, cost, and social impacts of those decisions.