When evaluating costs of assisted living communities, ensure you know exactly what is included and what is NOT included in any quoted price. What may seem overly expensive may be a fair deal while something that seems like a bargain could end up costing more than you expected.
Various pricing models within the assisted living industry exist, such as all-inclusive, tiered, and fee for service, also known as a la carte. Don’t make the mistake of comparing one community’s monthly fee to the next without knowing all the details. For example, the monthly fee at one community may include all housing and care, whereas another community’s monthly fee may be only for housing.
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A tiered pricing model may allow your loved one to move in at a lower rate with less care and assistance and then move into another tier of pricing, if he or she ever needs more assistance. An a la carte system allows you to pay only for what you use. However, take the time to ask about the price charged for each service, even those not currently needed. Personal care charges could add up quickly or change suddenly based on an unexpected need.
What would it cost if mobility assistance was needed on a daily basis? Could this add $1,000 or more in a la carte charges to the monthly fee?
Ensure you know what’s included and what’s not included in all fees, and look ahead to the future as you plan your budget. Get these questions answered to help compare pricing.
What to Ask When Comparing Assisted Living Costs
- Do I have a clear description of what is and is NOT included in any agreement or in each level of care?
- Did I ask for the history on how monthly fees have increased over the years?
- For a la carte or fee-for-service agreements, do I have a breakdown of fees for each service?
- How does the community track and calculate a la carte hours and care services? Will that information be available to me or my family if we want it?
- Did I get an explanation of processes and additional fees for when services fall outside or exceed the agreed level of service?
- What is the process for re-evaluation of a resident’s care? What happens to fees if my loved one’s level of care changes?
- Is there a refund policy if my parent is required or asked to move out?
Answering these questions will help you figure out the value of assisted living for your parent. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the numbers and budgeting, don’t hesitate to get advice from a knowledgeable financial advisor.
Both you and your parent can gain peace of mind with the decision when you know it’s affordable and your parent is financially safe and secure. What resources do most people use to help pay for assisted living?
- Social Security
- Savings, investments, retirement accounts
- Selling their home
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Settlement of a life insurance policy no longer needed
- Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit
Determining the best plan for your parents is the key. The decision to move to assisted living is an individualized journey for everyone, and it should be treated as such. Figure out what is best for you, your parents, and your family by researching all of your options.