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Actual Costs of Living in an Assisted Living Facility

Jun 26, 2008
An assisted living facility is for seniors who are capable of living independently and yet need some assistance with their daily activities. These people often need some help with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, medication management, and meals. It differs from a nursing home where skilled nursing care is provided. Residents live independently and receive help with daily activities as needed. There are some facilities where rooms are shared and others where all living quarters are private apartments.

All this comes at a cost, of course. You will need to pay between $1000 and $4000 in monthly charges. The fee depends on factors such as location, size of living quarters, and services provided. There may be variations in monthly rates as there are optional extra services available which may cost a little more. Most facilities accept only two types of payment, Long Term Care Insurance or private payment. You need to be very careful in examining all the details before selecting a facility and signing a contract.

Rates are usually quoted on a monthly basis. Some facilities charge for personal care at an hourly rate and factor the charge into the monthly fee. Other facilities charge a flat monthly rate that covers all basic personal care. If extraordinary services are required, the fee can be negotiated.

Please read the Residency Agreement carefully and be sure you clearly understand all charges. It would be wise to have an attorney read it as well. Some relevant questions to ask are, whether an Application Fee is required, also if a security deposit is expected. Is there a community fee? Are there additional charges for transportation or field trips? Are meals charged on a per meal basis or included in the basic monthly fee? Are there additional fees for laundry and housekeeping services? Are activities covered under the regular monthly charge or are they billed depending on participation?

It is also important to inquire regarding rate increases. How often and under what conditions do they occur? Is there a cap on monthly rate increases? Are full fees charged if a resident is hospitalized for an extended period or are they prorated? Is there a late fee if monthly charges are not paid on time?

Be certain that the Residency Agreement is written in simple, straightforward language and that is clearly states the services offered and all fees required. It is imperative that you have carefully read and understood all aspects of the Residency Agreement before signing.

Actual costs are an important issue to consider and understand when selecting an Assisted Living Facility. There are many other issues to consider as well in making such an important decision. It is to your benefit to make use of a comprehensive and professionally designed Assisted Living Checklist to aid you in ensuring your choice is the correct one for yourself or a loved one and no questions have been left unanswered.
About the Author
Jaguar Consulting, Inc has developed a series of Business Checklists for small business. Marjorie O'Donnell created the Selecting an Assisted Living Facility Checklist to help families select an ideal Assisted Living Facility for their lifestyle. She can be reached at (603) 642-8338, JimODonnell@JaguarConsulting.com, or http://WWW.Checklists4Business.com to review all available checklists
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