When you decide you want to be responsible for less as you age and move to something more convenient, your choices are independent living and assisted living.
With independent living you still cook for yourself and take care of your own needs, but in a setting around other seniors.
These places sometimes have a hair salon and other niceties right there on the grounds. Often there is transportation included to drive to grocery stores, etc.
If you make less money than most, there are places being built that are income restrictive. And I’m glad they have those places so seniors with less retirement funds have a nice place to live out their golden years.
Then there are all-inclusive places where you have your own apartment and the luxury of three meals a day, etc. But most are around $4000.
In doing a little research, I found average prices for senior independent living.
What Is The Average Cost Of Senior Independent Living?
It varies depending on where you live, but the cost of senior independent living can range from $1,500 to $6,000 per month.
I saw a place last week that I was pretty excited about and I shared it with you. But then I found out the common practices with those type of places and decided it was too much of a risk. More on that down further.
Wanting Less Worry In Your Golden Years:
If you have a very good income, you will probably be okay.
If you can afford the $3000 to $4000 a month, you will be able to live in a place where their services are built around your senior needs. And there will be planned social activities where you can make friends
But for those of us who make too much for income restricted independent living, then your other option is to go on long waiting lists for the few senior apartment communities that are somewhat reasonably priced. At least it’s that way here in Tulsa.
I put numbers into one online calculator for a new income restricted apartment community and it told me when the number put me out of range.
The number that said I no longer qualified was an income of $30,000 per year in Oklahoma. It will be different wherever you live based on various factors. I just kept putting in numbers to see what qualified and what didn’t.
More People/Fewer Possibilities:
There are lots of baby boomers seeking living accommodations. People are living longer. And the housing accommodations simply has not kept up with the need.
Monday I went by one of the three places in Tulsa that are for those wanting total independent living. Which means making your own food and paying your own bills, etc. In essence, taking care of yourself.
I am now on 3 waiting lists and none of them ticks off all the boxes I’m seeking.
Like having your own washer/dryer or a small patio or balcony to sit outside and feel the breeze on your face. Every one I went to is at least two stories, whereas I’m accustomed to having no one above or below me.
None of them had elevators, so I’m stuck with finding a bottom floor apartment, which limits me even more.
So one might have washer/dryer hookups but no outside space. Or vice versa.
Fewer Market Priced Apartments:
The place I went to Monday had only a handful of apartments for seniors who make market price income, meaning you pay the full amount. The vast majority of apartments were for lower income residents.
I’ve checked into probably 8 places where I simply make too much money to qualify. That number seems to be around $30,000.
Therein lies the problem you may face as well.
If I stopped blogging, I could get into one of those income restricted independent living apartments.
One I called said my monthly social security, which is close to $2300 a month, means I’d pay the upper end of costs. Yet that upper end is close to $1000 a month just for an apartment.
Like Gambling With Your Income:
Who wants to take a gamble where much of your monthly income is spent on housing? What if something happens and you need that money?
For instance, I’m driving a 15 year old car. It stands to reason that I will be needing another one as I am currently 64 years of age. I don’t have the cash to buy one, so I’d be making payments. Which would lower what I have left even further per month.
Once I qualify for Medicare, which is close to a year from now, I have no idea how much I’ll be paying. And I’ll almost certainly be needing a supplemental type of medical insurance.
All Inclusive Communities:
If you decide to go with an all inclusive community, where they pay the vast majority of the bills and provide 3 meals a day, you’re taking another gamble.
Those places often give you one price, which seems like a good deal, and then jack up your rate $400-$500 a month a little later.
And continue to keep jacking it up.
My friend Laura had that happen with her mother, who is now deceased. She was paying monthly for an all inclusive senior community, after giving them a sizeable entry fee.
Then before she knew it they raised her rent, making it close to $3000 per month.
So she probably thought that she’d found the place to live out her golden years. But then they yanked the rug out from under her by increasing her rent and she was forced to move.
From the research I did over the weekend, this is a pretty common practice.
Steadily Increasing Prices:
And these places, if they’re private, have every right to do that. To increase the price when it’s time to sign a new lease, etc. You won’t have any idea how much. Or when.
Thus you’re left worrying. Which is the whole reason you wanted to live in one of these communities to start with.
So that you’d have less worries and not have to depend on your adult children.
Buying Versus Renting:
If you have the money you can opt into one of those communities where you buy a home in a senior living community.
That will put you in the range of close to half a million bucks for this luxury in Tulsa. I don’t know about you, but I am far, far away from being able to pull that off.
Do you have an extra half a million laying around?
Why I Can’t Move Right Now:
Currently I really can’t move for several reasons. I am on a month to month lease here now, so there’s that worry taken care of.
But I’m getting ready to begin what could be a series of surgeries to hopefully make my fingers more functional again. Which starts next week.
And then there’s Charlie, my sweet boy. I pay a minimum of $500 for his prescriptions, food and care per month. And I’ll do whatever I can for him. A few times it’s been closer to $1000 if he’s sick and has to go to his regular vet as well as the vet who provides acupuncture.
That’s a high enough amount that it restricts me financially for other areas of my life.
How Much Money You Have To Spend:
All in all, it comes down to what you can afford to spend on a regular basis, unless you buy in with cash for a house, etc.
What you need to do now if you think senior living is soon in your future is get yourself on the waiting lists.
Because unless you find a place that is brand new you will likely be looking at a wait. You’ll have to bide your time until someone moves out, goes to assisted living, or dies. Harsh as that sounds, it’s true.
I’ll be writing more posts about this senior journey of mine. And I’ll let you know what the pros and cons and the costs are as I learn about them.
You can learn along with me and hopefully it will help you make your own decision.