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The chandelier isn’t going to take care of mom

What’s the most important thing to you and your loved one when making the difficult decision to move to a senior living community? That’s really up to you…

We are living in an era where the silver tsunami is upon us. More and more Boomers are needing care and help with their ADLs. This means that every investor in the senior living realm is building or has recently built brand new, high quality, fancy hotel-style assisted living communities.

This is great! Or is it?

It all depends on where you live and how much money you have. The truth is, if you’re middle class, maybe have a house to sell, maybe have some financial assets, you’re probably going to be sticker shocked at the price of these places. And what exactly are you paying for?

I always enjoyed my time as a sales director in a senior living community because there are so many creative ways to sell against the competition. It really boils down to what is the most important thing to you and your loved one as the consumer. Adult children often love the lush hotel lobby style, modern amenities, and a pool is always a plus; however, we who have worked or experienced putting our loved ones in a more established community often say, “it’s not the chandelier that takes care of mom.”

There’s a lot of truth to this.

I’ve dealt with consumers of all different backgrounds and financial means who need help caring for a loved one and are considering assisted living as the option. At the end of the day, the shiny new penny doesn’t always have the best care. You have to ask yourself, if this building is brand new and has all the fancy things, who is working here? Care givers who are tried and true usually stay in their comfort zone. I have known of care givers who have worked in communities for over 20 years. They keep their job because they are good at it, they actually care, and the companies they work for value them!

Brand new communities often hire young caregivers who are new to the art of care giving with very little experience dealing with the elderly population. Not all of them, but some just want a paycheck and often bounce from building to building depending on who pays more and where their friends work. Caregivers earn up to $20 an hour in certain areas because they are in higher and higher demand. Covid really presented us with a care crisis in this country and everyone is feeling the effects from hospitals to nursing homes. It’s not just about inflation, but supply and demand and there’s a huge demand for care. It’s considered an unskilled trade and companies are finally starting to realize that they are having to pay skilled compensation.

So if you’re in the market for assisted living, just keep in mind that if your loved one really, truly needs care and supervision, you might want to pick a more established community with caregivers who have worked there for more than a few weeks or month. If your loved one truly don’t need care and just wants to live in a brand new, fancy, hotel-style resort, there’s plenty to choose from!

But what about private duty home care? That’s a great idea! I hope you have extra cash for that…

Home care can also be expensive depending on how much supervision we are talking about. Some home care companies ask for a minimum of four hours per shift. This is a very viable and popular option for the more well-to-do. Move you loved one into a plush independent living community and then hire private duty home care to ensure care is being administered.

Either way, all of this costs beaucoup bucks. The best way to prepare for any of it is to meet with a financial planner (preferably one that specializes in care), meet with a placement agent or geriatric care manager, and/or meet with an eldercare attorney. Keep in mind that estate lawyers don’t always have all the know-how to navigate the eldercare realm.

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