How to Pay for Assisted Living: 6 Options

how to pay for assisted living

Assisted living is expensive!

When there are safety issues or your older adult starts needing constant care, it might be necessary to move them into assisted living.

That will get them the care they need, but the big question is how to pay for assisted living. Monthly fees can range from $1,500 to more than $10,000. Talk about sticker shock!

Though we can’t make the bills disappear, we can at least give you an overview of 6 ways to pay.


Elder law attorneys help plan for care expenses

Before we talk about payment options, we do want to suggest contacting an elder law attorney to help plan for your older adult’s care expenses.

They’ll be able to answer important questions, like:

  • Could dad qualify for Medicaid so it will pay for his care?
  • How do we protect Mom’s house and assets, but still afford the care she needs?
  • How do we make sure mom will have money left after all of dad’s care expenses are paid?

These are complicated questions and the answers will be different in each state and for each unique situation. A reputable elder law attorney may be able to help figure out how to afford senior care. The lawyer fees could be well worth it if they can save your family thousands of dollars.


6 ways to pay for assisted living

1. Private savings

  • If your older adult has enough savings, they could pay “out of pocket” using personal savings or income.
  • Consider speaking with a reputable financial advisor to confirm that your older adult’s savings will last through the years. For a quick ballpark estimate, use this long term care cost estimator.

2. Sell the house

  • Some seniors can sell their house and use that money to pay assisted living expenses.
  • If the house is still on the market, but the move to assisted living needs to happen ASAP, a bridge loan could help until the home is sold. FYI, that’s a short-term loan and could be a risky choice. But it’s something to consider if you’re really stuck.

3. Long-term care insurance

  • This type of insurance covers nursing home care, home-based health care, assisted living care, and other medical services.
  • Don’t assume you can’t afford it, check with a reputable insurance agent. Long-term care premiums are based on many factors, including:
    • Age
    • Health
    • Benefit amount and duration
    • When the company will start paying your benefits
    • Other factors. For example, where you live will affect the cost of your coverage.

4. Veterans benefits

  • In some cases, veterans benefits can cover assisted living costs.
  • To qualify and apply, you’ll need military discharge papers, a valid medical condition with a doctor’s letter, and minimum financial asset conditions.

5. Reverse mortgage

  • This is a special type of home loan where long-time homeowners borrow cash against the value of their home and you won’t have to sell your home.
  • There are three types of reverse mortgage. Check with your bank to learn more.

6. Medicare vs. Medicaid

  • For those who qualify, Medicaid pays for long-term assisted living care.
  • Medicare does not pay for long-term assisted living, but sometimes pays for short-term rehab stays, usually after a hospitalization.


You might also like:
How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help You
Benefits Programs Help Pay for Caregiving Expenses
5 Medicaid Misconceptions Caregivers Need to Know About


By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Press Play Pro


  • Reply January 11, 2017

    Kirsten Irgens-Moller

    Medicaid does not pay for Assisted Living in California. We need a law change soon, because it is a major crisis for elders who have outlived their resources, are frail but not in need of nursing care .

    • Reply January 12, 2017


      In California, seniors can apply for an Assisted Living Waiver. It would be great to have even more options and protections available for older adults who need care.

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