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Chapter 5 - How much is this going to cost my parents?

There’s Cost - And Then There’s Value
“Can my parent even afford this?”

We’ve been waiting for this question. Because as good as it all sounds, everything comes with a price.

There’s a misconception that senior care is free, and that the government covers all the costs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Provincial governments generally provide some funding for home care and for long term care, but individuals usually have to pay at least part of the cost. For retirement residences, it’s generally all on the resident. These costs can range widely, so it’s a good idea to do some homework.

But before your loved one starts figuring out ballpark costs, we’ve got a question: what do they value? Costs related to a lifestyle change such as this are much more complex than what you’ll see on a spreadsheet. There are many things to consider, so let’s examine a few of them.
What do you and your loved one value? Costs related to a lifestyle change such as this are much more complex than what you’ll see on a spreadsheet.

Home Care Costs

For a variety of reasons, some seniors choose to stay in their home as long as possible. If your loved one decides that’s best for them, that’s okay. But if one of their reasons for staying in their home is that they are concerned about the cost of moving into senior living, the reality may surprise them.

Let’s assume your mom or dad is in a house, and it’s mortgage-free. All that’s left for them to pay are the taxes, insurance, general upkeep, utility bills and their monthly expenses. The house itself may be in good shape, but if they’re spending most of their time on the main floor, avoiding the stairs because of mobility concerns, the home may need some accessibility upgrades. A lift for the stairs, a chair in the tub, handrails: all of these are upgrades that could cost them a few thousand dollars. They may also need to pay someone to cut the grass, remove the snow and do odd jobs around the house to keep things in order.

Then there’s care – as their needs evolve, they may need more support. While home care is available, they will want to consider what this means for them. Generally speaking, if your loved one uses funded government support services, those agencies decide who receives care, the number of care hours required, and for how long. There are often special programs for people with lower incomes (if your parent qualifies) that help people age at home, but keep in mind these don’t necessarily cover everything. If they find they need more help and the funding doesn’t cover the hours, they may need to explore the option of paying for a private care provider.

These are the obvious costs your parent will face by remaining in their own home. There’s also the social side to consider. Are they surrounded by friends and neighbours, or are they spending much of their time alone – with their closest friends no longer living nearby and their family spread out. It is important to weigh the cost of staying home with the cost of other options, like moving into a Revera retirement residence or long term care home.

Retirement Living Costs

When your loved one chooses to live in a retirement community, they also have the opportunity to choose which suite they like and which services and care options they need. All of these choices help determine how much they pay; for most seniors living at a Revera retirement home it works out to about $3,000 - $5,500 per month. Revera also has some retirement residences that cost more per month, for those looking for a luxury experience.

Retirement living is a welcome, affordable option for seniors who no longer want to worry about the upkeep or expenses associated with maintaining their home. In a retirement home, your loved one not only has a suite of their own that they’ve chosen, they have delicious meals, social activities, a thriving environment and the ability to let someone else think about mundane tasks like cleaning, so that they can focus on what matters to them most. You also have the comfort of knowing that they have access to the care and support they need to manage their health, through onsite or visiting care professionals. In some cases, you can also choose to bring in government-funded or private services for them.

Long Term Care Costs

The costs of long term care are shared by the resident and the government. Typically, residents pay for their accommodations, while the government covers the costs of things like care, food, programming and certain medications. Some provinces offer private pay options.

Rates for all types of long term care accommodations are established by the provincial government; rate subsidies may be available for ward accommodation. The range for the resident accommodation portion is typically between $1,000 and $3,000 per month, depending on factors such as which type of room they choose, the province they live in, their income and the age of the facility. In some provinces, lower-income residents may be eligible for additional financial support. For information, please contact the appropriate provincial agency or one of Revera’s long term care homes.

As you think about the cost of long term care for your loved one, keep in mind what long term care homes offer – available around-the-clock care for people with complex chronic conditions and/or cognitive challenges such as dementia in a safe and secure environment. Programs at Revera long term care homes are designed to support mind, body and spirit, with complex care, such as rehabilitation, wound care and specialized dementia care, delivered by on-staff healthcare professionals.

Like most things in life, no matter which direction is taken, cost is a factor in senior living. Your mom or dad’s situation, their needs, their choices, are unique to them. How much it all costs will be unique too. Where the costs and the value their choice brings to their life meet – that is the sweet spot.