18 November, 2021 | 3 min read

My Mom Has a Fixed Income - What Are Her Options for Senior Living?

My Mom Has a Fixed Income. What Are Her Options for Senior Living?

This is a common question that comes from adult children who are concerned for their aging mom. The statistics about older women who are on a fixed income show that this is a very widespread issue.

Data from the Social Security Administration shows that over 56% of Social Security beneficiaries are senior women, and nearly half of elderly unmarried women (including widows) depend on social security for 90% of their income.

If your mom is on a fixed income it may seem like there is no hope for getting her into a high-quality senior living community. The average monthly Social Security income for a retired woman is $1,142.77. In the state of California, the average monthly cost for a senior living community is $4,500-according to a survey conducted by Genworth. Seeing the disparity between those numbers can be disheartening when your mom has a fixed income.

Before you give up hope on finding a senior living community your mom can afford, there are a few other things to consider.

  • Your mom may be able ­to use funds from other sources to supplement her Social Security income and pay for senior living. Common areas where seniors find additional funds include home equity, retirement savings, and financial assistance from adult children. Some families hesitate to sell the house or tap into retirement savings to pay for a senior living community. The reality is that these things are in place for the well-being of your mom as she ages. It can be difficult to let go of a family home or spend money that was saved over the course of a lifetime. But, if those resources can positively impact your mother’s quality of life during her golden years then they are worth considering as options.

  • Senior living communities provide much more than just a place to sleep. Other things your mother currently pays for are often included in the price of senior living. Expenses such as transportation, utilities and meals are generally included in the monthly fee of a senior living community. Factoring these costs in can help you recognize the true value your mom will get at a particular community. You can use a cost comparison guide to put in the real numbers for your mom’s situation.

  • The prices of senior living communities vary depending on a number of factors. Since $4,500 is an average it means that some places cost less and some cost more. Factors that can impact cost include level of care needed, preferred meal plan, private versus shared space, and other amenities. You can discuss the various options with the communities you are considering and potentially find an option that is affordable for your mom.

You may have to combine a number of elements mentioned above to get your mom to a place where she can afford a senior living community. The solution may be to use the equity in the house, tap into retirement funds, and get a little assistance from all the siblings in order to pay for senior living. Finding a way to pay for senior living will ensure that your mom is in a place where she is well-cared for. Ultimately, your mom’s well-being is the one factor that matters more than all the rest.

At Eskaton, all of our communities are competitively priced, and we have a number of packages that come in below the market averages. We can work with you to find a community that can meet your mom’s current and future needs.

Looking for affordable housing for a low-income senior? While the waits can be as long as 2 to 3 years, Eskaton offers 1,000 affordable apartments around Northern California. Click here for a list. Please contact each one individually for wait times and to apply.

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