» Senior Housing Options and How to Pay For Them Senior Housing Options and How to Pay For Them – 909 Magazine

Senior Housing Options and How to Pay For Them

909 Magazine

As the population ages the need for senior housing options increases. Residents of the Inland Empire are fortunate to have many senior housing options offering all levels of care. The real challenge is not finding the right place to live but finding the resources to pay.

Attorney David M. Grossman
Estate Planning & Elder Law Specialist


The key to making the best choice in senior housing is to match the housing choice with the individual’s physical requirements, medical needs, social desires and financial resources. When deciding on the senior housing plan that is right for you or your family member, it is important to take into account not only the level of assistance currently needed but also anticipate future requirements.

There are many challenges in identifying the type of housing need for you or your family member. In this article, we will be clarifying some of the terms used when you start your research in finding a match that suits your needs. Consult your local doctor, healthcare professional, or a support group if you need help in finding balance between your needs and the available options. Here is a broad range of available options in the 909 area:

AGING IN PLACE – Staying at home is almost everyone’s first desire. However, this may require arranging for additional help and modification to your current home. As your needs may change over time it is a good idea familiarize yourself with other options.

INDEPENDENT LIVING – Often referred to as : retirement communities, senior housing, and senior apartments. This “for seniors only” option is great if your requirements for care are minimal and you desire a living space that is low maintenance.

ASSISTED LIVING – Often referred to as residential care. This option may be appropriate for those who need some help with one or more activity of daily living. The cost of this option is related to your needs. It however, does not always mean 24 hour care.

RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY FOR THE ELDERLY (RCFE) – These facilities provide non- medical room, meals, full housekeeping, supervision, storage ad distribution of medication, and personal care assistance.

SKILLED NURSING HOME – The highest level of care for an older adult outside of a hospital. This option is for individuals that require professional assistance around the clock.

In assessing which one of these housing options is right for you, you need to consider the following issues:

Level of Care

Location and Accessibility Caregiving




Once you have found the appropriate place for you or your family member’s senior years you are faced with the task of managing that choice financially.

If your choice is AGING IN PLACE or INDEPENDENT LIVING it is likely that you will have to self finance this option. However, you may find certain local, county, and state programs available to assist with specific issues, such as modification of your house. Many of these programs defer the repayment of funds borrowed to a later date; however, the funds may ultimately have to be repaid.

If your choice is RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY or SKILLED NURSING HOME the potential payers are: you, insurance, and Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal is available to pay the cost of RCFEs that participate in the California’s Assisted Living Waiver. Not all RCFE’s participate in this program. You must check with the individual RCFE or the State of California, Depart of Health Care Services.

Medi-Cal is available to pay for all or part of the cost of your care in a Skilled Nursing Home. The initial qualification requirements are:

Income – Less than $3,023.00 per month Assets – Less than $120,900.00

However, the following assets are not counted in this calculation: Residence; IRAs; 401ks; business; income earning property; and many other items. Also, the income requirement for a married couple can be increased from the minimum of $3,023.00. Finally, since January 1, 2017 the State of California’s law has changed to essentially eliminate any payback to the State. You must talk to an attorney that specializes in this area to see what can be accomplished for your specific situation.

A good resource we have found on the internet is the site called HelpGuide.org. Researching any program on the internet poses a challenge in that there are always so many choices. Most facilities that offer care can point you to a resource that suits their requirements.