Most people considering the services of a senior living facility must first overcome a major case of sticker shock before they are able to make any pertinent decisions.  This is no surprise, considering a senior living facility can cost you thousands of dollars each month, and those costs can increase at any time. Fortunately, you do have a variety of options when it comes to paying for elderly care, and you may be able to combine a number of these options to dramatically decrease, if not eliminate, your out of pocket expense.  Here is a guide to affording the costs of senior living:

Private funds. Things like personal retirement savings, investment portfolios, dividends, and pension funds can be used to offset the costs of senior care. Additionally, it is not uncommon for seniors to liquidate their assets (the equity they have in a home, for example) in order to move into a senior living facility.

Reverse mortgages.  Seniors who don’t want to sell their homes can still cash in on a home’s value by way of a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is a mortgage program in which seniors borrow against their home’s equity, in the form of monthly payments.

Medicare and Medicaid.  Medicare does not cover assisted living facility expenses; however, Medicaid does, at least for specified durations of time (usually 90 days or less). Medicaid requirements may vary from state to state, so you will have to check with your state Medicaid office to determine if you or your loved one qualifies.

Veterans benefits. These may be used to cover the expenses of senior living. The senior must provide military discharge papers and a doctor’s note validating a health condition, and must also prove financial need.

Long term care insurance. These insurance policies cover a variety of senior care expenses, from in home health care to medical procedures to nursing home care, but only if the senior is able to meet certain requirements. For example, most long term care insurance providers won’t disperse funds until a senior is able to prove an inability to perform a specified number of activities of daily living (ADL). ADLs include things like eating, bathing, and getting dressed.

Choosing a senior living facility is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make in a lifetime. Only the utmost of thought and care should go into deciding who is fit to look after those you love the most. You need a senior living facility that can provide a caring staff and a comfortable environment, backed by a longstanding reputation you trust.