Admitting that your senior family member requires a higher level of care and support than you can provide is difficult. However, you are not alone. Over 54 million adults aged 65 and older currently live in the US, around 16.5% of the population. At the same time, their children—members of the so-called “sandwich generation” have found themselves in the challenging position of caring for their own children and their parents at the same time.

In fact, 47% of adults in their 40s and 50s are caring for minor children or offering financial assistance to grown children, while their parent aged 65 or older requires increasing levels of care. Similarly, nearly seven in ten middle-aged adults who have provided financial assistance to an aging parent report that this was not a one-time commitment but a necessity for covering ongoing expenses.

Supporting Elder Adults and Their Living Options

It is natural to want to help your loved ones as much as you can, but this situation can significantly impact your financial stability. As the aging population continues to grow, the burden of caring for multiple generations of family members will continue to increase and is simply not sustainable for the long term.

Among members of the sandwich generation, 30% say their parent needs help with daily living and handling affairs, and 31% of them provide most of this help. Even working full-time, 30% of these adults report they can barely meet their basic expenses, and 11% do not even have the resources to do this. Although few people enjoy asking for help, being realistic about the growing needs of your aging parent and your limited abilities is crucial for protecting their well-being as well as your own.

If you are struggling to support your parent and make ends meet, it might be time to consider a senior living community. Making this move can alleviate your stress and ensure your loved one is in the best place to support them as they age.

What Is the Difference Between a Nursing Home and Assisted Living?

Many people consider “senior living” to be synonymous with “nursing home.” While that may have been true in the past, today, this is not the case. Thankfully, you have several options available so you can find the right community for your aging parent and give them the resources they need to stay happy and healthy. In fact, most people who search for nursing homes online determine that their senior would benefit from a more communal, social living environment like an assisted living community.

Also known as convalescent homes or skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes are designed for seniors who do not need to be hospitalized but do require full-time monitoring, daily medical care, and assistance with daily living activities. Most elderly adults in nursing homes need round-the-clock nursing and personal care from licensed health care professionals. They suffer from chronic, debilitating medical disorders, progressive cognitive conditions, mobility concerns, have experienced a recent injury, or require regular injections. Nursing homes often offer preventative and ongoing palliative care, special rehabilitation services, dental services, meal options to meet special dietary needs, and increased safety features to prevent wandering off-site.

Assisted living communities are ideal for seniors who want to maintain an independent lifestyle as long as possible while receiving minor assistance with nursing, medication, or daily activities. These communities provide a safe, secure, and home-like setting focused on encouraging physical health, social connections, and intellectual stimulation. Assisted living facilities are designed with widened doorways, step-in bathtubs, grab bars, and other amenities to ensure accessibility for residents with mobility issues. They offer a variety of services to help seniors achieve and maintain long-term wellness, such as restaurant-style dining, transportation to local areas of interest, housekeeping, medication management, and social activities.

Are Nursing Homes More Expensive Than Assisted Living?

Nursing home costs vary by location, not-for-profit status, and state funding. Assisted living facility costs vary depending on community, location, and the specific services they provide. Nursing homes are generally more expensive than assisted living facilities because their residents require a higher level of care. They typically have entry requirements such as physical examinations, physician’s prescriptions, and state approval.

According to recent data collected by long-term care insurance company Genworth in their national 2020 Cost of Care Survey, nursing homes are the most expensive senior living option, followed by home care health aides, home care homemakers, and assisted living facilities. A private room in a nursing home cost an average of $8,821 per month or $105,850 per year, an increase of $40,665 since 2004. According to this trend, the cost of nursing home care is expected to increase by $2,542 each year.

Comparable Assisted Living Facilities

In contrast, a private one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility cost an average of $4,300 per month or $51,600 per year, half the price of a private nursing home room. This cost has increased by $22,800 since 2004 and is estimated to continue increasing at a rate of $1,425 per year. Home care home health aides and home care homemakers cost an average of $42,168 and $38,095, respectively, and these rates are also rising.

Lower-income residents may qualify for government assistance through Medicaid to help cover nursing home costs. If a doctor certifies that assisted living is medically necessary, residents may be able to use Medicaid for financial assistance. It is important to note that this will only cover specific services and does not include basic room and board as with nursing homes. However, certain states do place limits on how much these facilities can charge Medicaid patients for room and board, and some residents may be eligible to receive additional funding from Supplemental Security Income or other state programs.

Contact Rocky Mountain Assisted Living to Learn More

If you have questions about the cost of assisted living or would like to discuss the services we offer at Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, contact us today. We have facilities throughout Colorado, including Lakewood, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Wheat Ridge, and Thornton. We can help your aging loved one retain their independence while receiving progressive levels of care based on their specific needs. Get in touch with our team to schedule a tour of our grounds.