The average cost of assisted living in North Carolina was about $600 less per month than the national average in a 2015 survey, which is great news. But individual factors play as big of a role as regional trends in determining actual senior living costs in Asheville and elsewhere.
The basic rule of commerce also applies to senior living: You get what you pay for. Factors that impact the cost of senior living in Asheville include personal care needs, medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, differing floor plans for apartments, and location.
1. Personal Care Needs
Residents of assisted living communities receive just enough personal care and assistance to enable them to remain active and independent. Residents don’t have to pay for personal care or support they don’t need, which help keep senior living costs in check.
Arbor Terrace of Asheville, for example, offers a complimentary wellness assessment to determine what level of care will most benefit potential residents, ranging from minimal assistance to comprehensive care. This determines how much help a resident needs with medication management and activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, dressing, and bathing. The more comprehensive the individualized care plan, the more expensive it is.
Individual care plans also ensure that assisted living communities have the flexibility to be responsive to residents’ changing care needs. Care plans can be revisited and redrafted whenever circumstances change.
2. Memory Care for Alzheimer's and Other Forms of Dementia
Individuals in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia often need 24-hour supervision, access to individualized cognitive care programs, attention from specialists, and significant personal care. Because the needs become more advanced in the later stages of dementia, the cost of dementia care is significantly higher than other forms of senior living.
Assisted living communities like Arbor Terrace of Asheville have dedicated memory care wings or floors where residents with dementia receive 24-hour supervision, individualized care, and attention from specialists. Support services and family counseling for loved ones with dementia are even included in the costs.
3. Type of Accommodations
When it comes to floor plans for senior living suites and apartments, additional space, private bedrooms, and single apartments come at a premium. Usually, a number of floor plans at different price points are available. The more flexibility residents have with their accommodations, the more flexibility they’ll find in cost.
Arbor Terrace at Asheville offers four floor plans: three one-bedroom, one-bathroom variations and a two-bedroom, one-bathroom suite available for residents who want to save money by living with a roommate. Again, cost reflects individual expectations and needs.
4. Location, Location, Location
The old adage in real estate says the three most important things are location, location, location. Likewise, it also plays an important role in determining the cost of senior living. Markets vary greatly across the country and even within individual states like North Carolina.
Overall, assisted living costs in North Carolina were about 15 percent below the national average. Assisted living costs in Asheville, meanwhile, were among the lowest in the state in 2016. Average assisted living costs in areas with the highest costs, such as Winston and Wilmington, were up to 42 percent more expensive. That demonstrates how big of an impact local real estate markets have on costs.
Figuring Out the Total Cost of Senior Living
When considering senior living costs, it’s important to remember that all living expenses are included. In addition to lodging and personal care, monthly rates include meals, social activities and events, amenities like wellness centers and exercise rooms, utilities, taxes and insurance.
It might be helpful to use a Senior Living Cost Calculator to add up your current living expenses. From there, the free tool allows you to compare current costs to the cost of senior living in Asheville. That’ll help you begin to put together a budget picture. Contact Arbor Terrace of Asheville to explore financial options and to get more more information about factors that impact senior living costs.