Understanding the Cost of Senior Living in Austin, Texas
It’s no secret, Austin is booming. Our city currently holds a spot in the list of the top 10 most populous cities in the United States. It also has a 14.4% growth rate, the fastest growth rate in the country. And it’s not just young people deciding to call Austin home.
Between 2010 and 2020, Austin’s retiree population doubled for good reason. The city has a vibrant music scene and incredible restaurants, a warm climate perfect for outdoor activities, and a friendly population. In fact, Forbes listed Austin as one of the top 25 best places to retire. But how does the cost of senior living compare to other locations?
The Cost of Independent Senior Living in Austin
The cost of senior living varies widely across the country and is largely determined by location. For the most part, independent senior living will cost more in urban areas like New York City or San Francisco. On average, though, independent senior living costs about $3,555 per month, which is right in line with the average cost of independent senior living in Austin, coming in at $3,292 per month. While location is a big driver in the price of independent living, it is not the only or even the most significant factor that determines cost.
Amenities play a huge role in the price of independent living. In general, the more amenities, the higher the monthly cost. While the amenities offered by independent senior living communities in Austin vary from community to community, there are some that are fairly standard.
The point of retirement is to live a worry-free life. That’s why most independent living communities relieve their residents from the burden of doing home maintenance, yard work, or housekeeping.
Many communities offer meal plans for on-site dining options with nutritious and chef-prepared meals.
Social and Recreational Activities.
It is common for independent living communities to offer events, classes, and clubs that encourage social interaction and engagement.
The price of independent living often includes access to fitness centers, pools, and wellness programs to promote a healthy lifestyle.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of amenities that can be offered by independent senior living communities. Every community is different, so you’ll want to be sure you know exactly what kind of amenities are included.
Life Plan Community
As we age, our care needs change. A Life Plan Community offers residents a continuum of care, ensuring that they have the necessary healthcare services they might need in the future. This is a great way to ensure all your healthcare needs will be met and prevent reactive, need-based care later in life. These programs also make sure you can seamlessly transition into other types of care like assisted living or memory care without a significant change to your monthly fees. Cost may vary a bit based on a variety of factors. In general though, you can expect to pay a one-time entry fee and a controlled monthly fee.
How Can I Pay for Independent Senior Living?
There are many ways to pay for senior independent living. These are just a few of the most common.
The most obvious way to pay is personal funds. Retirement savings, pensions, or investments are all sources of income that can help pay for independent living.
Insurance like long-term care insurance normally would only help with health and personal care costs. This makes it more applicable to things like memory care and skilled nursing. This isn’t always the case, however, so it is important to consult your specific policy details.
Long-term care insurance isn’t the only type of insurance that could help with the cost of independent living. There are ways to use life insurance policies to help offset the cost of independent living. If you do choose to look into utilizing insurance to help pay for the cost of independent living, you should consult a professional. Insurance policies can be complex, and you’ll want an expert to help you make the best decisions.
Many people opt to sell their homes to fund their transition into an independent living community. Some even choose to rent out their homes as an investment strategy, generating a steady income. Apart from homes, you can also sell other valuable assets, like a second car, to generate funds.
Choosing the Right Independent Living
Your retirement should be stress free and enjoyable. That’s why you need to take your time and make sure you choose the right independent living community for you. Here are a couple of things you should do before settling on a senior independent living community.
Visit in Person
Before making a decision, tour several communities to get a feel for the environment, amenities, and staff.
Ask About Contracts
Make sure you understand the terms of the contract, especially if you’re considering a Life Plan Community. The contract should clearly state what services and amenities are included and provide a breakdown of all fees and costs. If you’re not sure about something in the contract you can always have a lawyer review it to make sure you are getting everything you want.
Seek Financial Advice
Consult with a financial planner or elder law attorney to understand the best payment options and any potential tax benefits.
The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services offers information and resources for seniors. Additionally, the Austin Area Agency on Aging provides local resources and assistance. While the cost of senior independent living in Austin can vary, the benefits in terms of services, amenities, and peace of mind are significant. By understanding the options and leveraging available resources, seniors can make informed decisions that best suit their needs and budget.