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Assisted Living Costs Explained

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Searching for senior living homes for your loved one is often a stressful experience. In many cases, a health crisis has occurred that forces one to act very quickly. Having the luxury of thoroughly researching communities and comparing assisted living costs is rare.

Assisted Living Cost Breakdown

To help ease this burden, below is a breakdown of how most senior living communities structure their pricing and ways of analyzing pricing to see if it will be a good fit for your loved one.

Cost According to Levels of Assisted Care

Many communities have a range of care packages. Not every resident will require the same level of care and thus is not charged for the care they do not need. For instance, your mother may only require assistance for some tasks, such as getting dressed, or help with mobility or transferring in and out of bed. Others may require more advanced care such as medication management and administration, help with complicated medical conditions, or wound care. Further, support for those living with memory impairment may also have a separate pricing structure.

Changes in Assisted Care Can Increase Costs

Moving aging adults can be very overwhelming and stressful for all parties, so it is important to look at communities that are able to easily adjust levels of care. This will help prevent future moves in case assistance needs change. Many people do not know that some communities have limitations to the kinds of care it can provide for its residents. Knowing any potential limitations can help you make the right long-term choice for your family.

For the communities that are able to adjust, it is important to know how pricing might change. There may be certain thresholds that need to be met before pricing moves from one level to the next. Or the community may have specific line items added to the overall cost. For instance, some communities may have buckets of care types that include mobility assistance and memory care, while others may keep these items separate, thus having separate costs.

Knowing how the community breaks down its costs and how changes may affect those prices is very important to ensure the community is a good fit for your loved one in the long term.

À La Carte Charges

The price of long-term care can often seem high. This is because the cost is covering much more than rent for the room and daily assistance. Think of all the items you must pay each month for living in your home–utility bills, internet and phone costs, groceries, and more. For communities, this is an all-in price that also reflects the care and attention your loved one will be receiving on a daily basis.

That said, some communities offer you to remove or add line items à la carte. It is not a common practice, but some do offer this as an alternative to an all-in price.

The risk of this option, however, is that it leaves your family responsible for certain bills or daily necessities. And ultimately, the cost could come out very similar but with much more work on your family’s part. Check with the community you are researching and see if this is an option and inquire as to how the practice might work. It may be a good fit for your situation.

Make a Choice that Works

No one really enjoys getting into the financial side of long-term care. But it is an essential part of the researching phase and can often be the deciding point between communities.

It is also important to feel good about the financial decision. Often, if you feel uncertain about the financial complications of a home for your loved one, the overall experience could leave you and your family unsatisfied after the moving is complete.

Choosing a senior living home should not leave you uncertain. Ideally, the community can help guide you through the financial side of funding your loved one’s care. It will help you rest assured that your loved one is getting the care they deserve at a fair and reasonable price. For more information, check out our free guide, How to Pay for Assisted Living.