Senior housing costs have skyrocketed in the past several years, leaving many families worried about how they’ll cover the costs of assisted living or independent living for themselves or an aging loved one. In fact, studies have shown that many people believe that Medicaid will cover the costs of senior housing.
In reality, Medicaid will cover only the cost of nursing home care under specific circumstances, and in most cases, only after the resident’s personal finances have been depleted. Personal assets such as real estate are sometimes considered assets as well, making selling the family home to cover the cost of long-term care a very real possibility for many.
Senior living costs are out of reach for many
If you plan ahead, you might be able to work these costs into your retirement fund or obtain long-term care insurance. While more people are becoming aware of the eventual costs they’ll likely face as they age, many of today’s seniors didn’t have the advantage of planning ahead and are therefore left without a financial cushion or option to fall back on when the time comes to consider moving to senior housing.
With the cost of living rising rapidly in many parts of the country, coupled with longer life expectancies, it’s becoming increasingly common for seniors to outlive their savings.
The Silver Scholarship Foundation offers financial help to seniors in need
One non-profit organization aims to help seniors facing these circumstances. The Silver Scholarship Foundation’s vision is to “eliminate the care versus cost dilemma faced by many older adults,” raising money via public grants and charitable fundraising to help aging adults cover the costs for essential care and services they need but simply cannot afford.
The Silver Scholarship Foundation offers funding to approved seniors to cover costs such as:
- Private pay companions
- Rent and/or utilities
- Home health care
- Assisted living
- Residential dementia care
How do you qualify for a Silver Scholarship?
To qualify for a Silver Scholarship, individual applicants must be at least 65 years old, and meet one of the following criteria:
- Require a higher level of care than currently received, such as Memory Care, but unable to afford the upgrade.
- Nearing a financial crisis with financial resources totaling less than six months’ living expenses.
- Considering moving out of Assisted Living or having recently moved out due to inability to cover costs.
- A wartime Veteran or the spouse of a wartime Veteran waiting for an Aid and Attendance pension to be processed.
Senior living communities in Florida can also apply to become “Silver Star Certified,” meaning current and future residents are eligible to receive a Silver Scholarship financial grant to help cover the cost of care in part or in full. Through this effort, The Silver Scholarship Foundation helps to remove the “need versus cost” obstacle facing many seniors today.
Silver Star Certification is more than just an acknowledgement that residents may participate in The Silver Scholarship Foundation’s financial assistance programs, but also indicates that the community meets The Silver Scholarship Foundation’s quality of care standards. Certification is awarded after a careful review of previous state inspection surveys, a review of any complaints issued against the community, references from residents, families, and senior living professionals, and a walk-through of the community by representatives of The Silver Scholarship Foundation.
Applicants screened on multiple factors
Applicants are screened based on a variety of factors, such as savings, the potential costs of required care, home ownership, recurring medical expenses, VA eligibility, work history, social security income and pensions, long-term care insurance policies, current living costs and more. The screening process is designed to reserve funds for seniors who are truly in need and are out of options to cover the cost of care.
The initial application is simple to fill out; you can find it here. Once approved, applicants will receive a financial grant in a predetermined amount.
The Florida-based non-profit is 501(c)(3) status pending, and at present is accepting applications from residents from Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties in Florida. If you’re located in another area, don’t worry: New areas open for application will be announced over time, and you can keep checking here for updates.
What if you need help now?
If you’re not a Florida resident located in one of the areas presently being served by The Silver Scholarship Foundation, you do have other options. Check out our Senior Finance Center for dozens of articles on paying for senior living, what to expect in terms of the long-term care costs, and alternative financing options such as reverse mortgages and life settlements.
Images via The Silver Scholarship Foundation
Post by Angela Stringfellow