This is a MYTH!

Housing options for aging adults is a booming industry in our area, but not all options should be treated equally. Assisted living residences are a social model of living comprising apartment style living units where the resident can live alone or with a spouse or roommate. Assisted livings include some level of assistance with activities of daily living (personal hygiene, dressing, eating, continence, toileting, and transferring).

The level of assistance offered varies from facility to facility and from individual to individual within a facility. Nursing homes comprise a medical model where the resident has medical care and assistance with activities of daily living available 24/7.

As I’m sure you can imagine, based on the level and amount of care provided, the cost difference between assisted livings and nursing homes can be substantial. According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, in 2021, the average cost of assisted living in Massachusetts was $6,500 a month, with a nursing home shared room averaging $12,623. How you can pay for the two different models of senior living is also vastly different.

Assisted living is almost exclusively privately paid, meaning that people use their own assets to pay their rent and any additional costs associated with hours of care provided by the facility. There are very few opportunities for assisted living residents to qualify for benefits that pay for their rent and care. On the other hand, 65% of nursing home residents qualify for benefits that pay for a portion of their nursing home care.

There are many factors that go into the decision as to which model of senior living is more appropriate for an aging adult. While they cannot assess levels of care needed or medical issues, the advice of an elder law attorney can be invaluable when it comes to paying for these living arrangements. An elder law attorney can advise what, if any, benefits may be available to help cover the cost of these housing options, assist with the application process, and ease the stress of many aging adults and their loved ones.

Elizabeth A. Caruso, Esq. is an attorney at Legacy Legal Planning, LLC, in Norwell, Massachusetts. She has been practicing estate planning, probate, and elder law on the South Shore for over a decade. If this article has sparked questions for you, please feel free to reach out via phone 781-971-5900 or email to schedule a time to discuss your unique situation.