Most people don't want to think about what it will be like when they can no longer take care of themselves, which is probably why so many people aren't prepared when the time finally comes. Navigating your way through assisted living is a terrifying path that can lead to poverty, poor care, and less than hospitable living conditions.

Learn how to get affordable and satisfactory assisted living.

It's no easy street, but you can get you or your elderly family member the care that you need and deserve.

Different Options for Different Needs (And Prices)

It's not just a question of whether Mom or Dad needs assisted living or not, it's what type of assistance they require. Assisted living generally refers to a community of elderly people without the ability to live on their own and need help with everyday activities like using the bathroom, bathing, and brushing their teeth. Meals are provided, as are medications and general care. Cost for assisted living usually hovers around $3,000, but varies from state to state. If your loved one needs more help than all that and requires constant care, he or she will have to move up to a full fledged nursing home.

Nursing homes are like assisted living, but for seniors who require extra care and constant supervision. This type of living will usually run almost double the cost of assisted living. They include 24 hour nursing care, activities, meals, and usually Alzheimer's care, as well.

Apart from assisted living and nursing homes, your beloved senior could benefit from independent living communities, residential care homes, or home care, which are considerably less. If your loved one can perform most basic everyday duties, he or she could live in an independent living community or residential care home for around $2,000 or less. Home care generally runs around $30 per hour. So find out exactly what your needs are before you choose the type of assisted living.

Assisted Living Cost

The amount you'll have to spend on assisted living is sometimes overwhelming. Ensure that your assisted living cost is as low as possible.

Bridge Home Loans

Paying for your assisted living can be tricky. At first glance, things might seem pretty bleak. Some say that you can either pay out of pocket, or pay until you're broke and then allow the government to take care of you (hopefully). This might be the case for some, but there are other options, and one of them is a bridge home loan. With a bridge home loan, you can get the bank to pay for your assisted living during the time in between moving out of the house and selling the house. This will help you get settled in your new life without the added stress of financial worries.

Reverse Mortgages

There are some ways the bank can help you out (rather than hurt you). A reverse mortgage on your home can turn some of the equity invested in your house into cash you can use to pay for assisted living. You've put your life into your home. Ensure that you get everything out of it that you can.

Veteran's Assistance

Most veterans should get substantial compensation to pay for assisted living. The terms usually state that the person receiving the benefits must have been enlisted in the armed forces for a period of at least 90 days (while sometimes this duration can stretch up to 2 years), and at least one day during war time. If the person interested meets these requirements, he should get substantial assistance for both himself and his spouse. In general, the veteran will receive $2,000 for himself and his spouse, $1,800 for just himself, and $1,100 for a surviving spouse. This might not pay for the entirety of your VA assisted living expenses, but it will definitely put a huge dent in them.

Some states have VA assisted living and state veterans' homes. Vacancies in these establishments are limited, but could be an extremely cheap option for our nation's heroes.

Medicaid

Most states offer some sort of assistance for assisted living costs. Although Pennsylvania is not one of those states, they do offer state funded Supplemental Security Income for assisted living. Find out if you qualify, and get every penny you can get your hands on.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Most definitely the way to go, long-term care insurance can help you through every step of the way getting you the care that you need. However, most people who are already in need of care will not qualify to become insured in this manner. If you are young, worried about your golden years, and have the money to invest, long-term care insurance is certainly an investment that could come in handy.