What You Need to Know About Assisted Living Expenses
If you’ve been researching assisted living, you may have noticed that the costs of assisted living aren’t as simple as a monthly rent. With 24/7 care, and amenities such as housekeeping, provided meals and snacks, community maintenance, and enriching activities, it’s no surprise that costs vary depending on the residence. Some online calculators can help you with a rough estimate of expenses, but the best way to find out is to shop the communities directly.
Assisted living communities include health care oversight and supportive care like help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). A professional assessment is required before your loved one moves in to determine the appropriate care they need. Assessments evaluate the needs of your loved one from mobility issues and dietary restrictions, to medication management and emotional health. Again, online resources can provide you with a rough idea of the services you can expect, but the assisted living community will provide the evaluation for required care.
Assisted living communities typically charge in three ways:
Care Points or Fee-For-Service
Care points or fee-for-service charges rent plus the itemized care services your loved one will receive. Through this system, the resident receives a personalized plan specific to their unique needs and payments are based on those services. While the price of services could change over time depending on the addition of new services, you’ll have an itemized account of the care received daily.
Some communities will offer three or four levels of care, where each level has a package of care regardless of the specific needs of the individual. Cost is determined by the amount of care your parent or loved one requires, which will, in turn dictate the “care level.” While some appreciate knowing the packaged cost of services each month, if a resident is at the line between levels, they could end up paying for more than they need, or not getting the proper assistance they require.
Some communities offer a single fee per month that includes the price of rent and all care and services provided. Just like any other apartment-type community, you can expect the same payment month to month. The services are pre-packaged and set for all residents, but the community may have less ability to care for specific needs. One concern with this model is that your parent or loved one could require more care than what is provided.
If you find that a community guarantees a set price monthly, ask how additional services offered will be covered, and ensure that a higher level of care will be given if it becomes necessary.
Some communities will also offer a maximum cap. If your care expenses reach a certain level, they will promise to never charge you more than that amount. Be sure to ask again if you will continue to get the same amenities, services and especially increased level of care as it is needed and how they manage those expenses.
Like any other rental complex, month-to-month rent is also determined by the size of the apartment, neighborhood, age of the building, and on-site amenities. Most assisted living communities roll the costs of basic services like housekeeping, meals, transportation, and basic utilities into the base rent.
It’s always a good idea to ask each community as you tour what the baseline rent covers. Most communities charge month-to-month, but you may be able to lock in a rental rate for one year. Make sure to find out what to expect from annual rental rate increases, change in services if your parent or loved one’s health declines, or other added fees. We have 20 suggested questions that you can take with you as you tour to help you get the most information from your visit.
Visit your local Aegis Living to learn more about assisted living, fees, payment options, and the specific and exceptional services they provide.