Tri-State Residents Left Wondering How They Will Ever Afford It

FANWOOD, N.J. (CBS 2) — It’s cause for concern.

A new study by Met Life has found that the cost of nursing homes and assisted living nationwide went up more than twice the rate of inflation in the past year.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan has the story from New Jersey, where many senior citizens worry their money may run out.

The Chelsea in Fanwood is an assisted living home many senior citizens who can’t live on their own hope to end up.

“I saved my money when I was working. I invested it,” 87-year-old Warren Jensen said.

Mindy Cere saved too, but said it wasn’t easy.

“The money that I accumulated and saved up purposely for something like this is slowly diminishing,” the 93-year-old told Sloan.

The new study finds the cost of assisted living nationwide went up by more than 5 percent in the past year. It’s the same for nursing homes. In New Jersey and Connecticut, it costs an average of $4,000 a month; in New York, more than $3,000.

Elaine Jeffers said she struggles to pay the bill for her mother-in-law.

“The costs are scary, very scary,” Jeffers said.

Sam Pessolano said he has managed but his son may not when he reaches his age.

“It’s alarming and it is a real concern of ours because who knows if we’ll ever be able to afford this,” Paul Pessolano said.

A place like The Chelsea can cost up to $5,000 a month. Residents use their pensions, Social Security, savings and even money from the sale of their home to be able to live in a place like this.

“It cost a lot,” one client.

The Chelsea’s director of community relations said salary increases and the cost of living are to blame. Planning in your 40s, she said, is key.

“For instance there’s veteran’s benefits, which they kind of tag as forgotten income for forgotten people. There’s also long term care insurance,” Linda Caminiti said.

She said knowing what’s out there can make your golden years more comfortable.

Many assisted living homes will also take Medicaid once you spend down.

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