When Your Parents Need Assisted Living – Part 3

Do your parents need additional care? Do they need to move into Assisted Living, but you don’t know where to start? I was in that spot several months ago, so I can relate. It can be a difficult transition, especially when you don’t know anything about the process. Given all I have learned over the last several months, I thought it might be beneficial to share my experience with you. Perhaps you can take away something from my experience that will be useful on your journey.

If you recall, from part 2 of this mini-series, my stepbrothers were handing the search for my dad. Dad has frontal lobe dementia, and memory care is the best place for him.

Let’s look again at the questions you need to answer about your loved one who needs to take the next step in the aging process. I asked these questions about my mom.

From what I have found in my search, there are six options for care. Which one will be the best for my mom? There may be more, but here are the ones I found:

  1. Independent Living
  2. Assisted Living
  3. Memory Care
  4. Nursing Home
  5. Skilled Nursing
  6. Private Duty Nursing

What’s the difference?

Level of care, diagnosis, and cost.

Ask these questions about your loved one.

  1. Does your loved one need help daily?
  2. Are they able to manage their medications?
  3. Do they need assistance with showering or going to the bathroom?
  4. What about eating? Do they need assistance with feeding themselves? Can they still cook?
  5. Can they walk without assistance?
  6. Can they do their laundry and clean up after themselves?
  7. Are they able to pay their bills?
  8. Can your parent(s) still drive?
  9. Are they a fall risk? Do they need fall protection or an alert necklace?

You may have other questions.

Once you narrow down what your loved one is capable of, you can narrow your search. But that’s just the beginning.

Then comes the bigger question – what can you or your parent(s) afford?

For expert help and direction, I went to my friends on Facebook first.

Facebook first? Yes.


I knew someone on my friend’s list would know where to start. Surely someone I know has already been through this process with their loved one.

I was right. The responses came flooding in. Several people gave their recommendations of where to put mom, and my friends had plenty of tips. But two things stood out in all the comments.

  1. It’s costly.
  2. Call a referral company for direction.

My friends were right. It was costly, and a referral company was beneficial.

Who gets the award?

The referral company that received the most votes was “A Place For Mom.”

So, I contacted “A Place For Mom” via the internet and got the ball rolling. I didn’t realize that while they are a great resource, my information goes out to many other organizations, and the phone starts ringing within minutes. Depending on how you feel about this, it can be good or bad. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the extra contact.

Rather than tell them I wasn’t interested, I took the time to listen to each one. Through these multiple sources, I learned more about the assisted living industry and what options were available.

After listening to their two-minute introduction, the most pressing question about their sales pitch was the cost. Let’s cut to the chase. I had a budget figure in mind, and if the price exceeded my budget, there was no sense in continuing. They can have all the bells and whistles one could ask for, but if mom can’t afford it, those bells and whistles don’t matter.

So, what does it cost to live at one of these facilities?

The answers are all over the place, and it depends on whether you have long-term care insurance, Medicaid, or you are paying with cash. In mom’s case, she was paying with cash, and mom never purchased long-term care insurance, and she didn’t qualify for Medicaid because she is still married to dad.

Drum roll, please

From what I could find, starting prices in the Central Florida area for Independent Living are $1,995 per month when private paying, aka cash. Let me tell you something; you aren’t getting anything fancy for this price.

Hold on, that’s just the cost to live there. The monthly fee doesn’t include what the industry calls the “level of care.”

There are at least five levels of care for most places, and some have six levels of care. Each level of care costs money, and the higher the level of care, the more you pay. The facility will help you determine which level of care your loved one qualifies for after asking you a series of questions very similar to the ones you already asked.

In mom’s case, she was able to manage her medications, feed, clothe, and bathe herself. She qualified for what the industry calls Independent Living, and mom would still receive minimal care and save money.

The facility will still come in daily and check on her, provide three meals a day, make her bed, and do her laundry once a week, but nursing care will not be required until she moves to the next level.

How much do you want to pay?

Depending on the facility, you could pay as high as $5,000 per month, excluding level of care. There is no reason to spend that kind of money when other affordable options are available. I can confirm the $5,000 a month facility does not have streets of gold, marble columns, or five-star chefs cooking food. If you do not have a budget and can afford to spend $5,000 a month on Living, those places are for you.

Pricing is a big draw when you are working with a budget. But you also have to look at multiple factors to make the best decision for your loved one.

I remember how I felt the first time I heard the monthly price, and I was shocked. It makes you think about your future. Is it too late to start thinking about your future plans?

Be encouraged.

Allow me to close with something that encouraged me along the journey. The passage comes from Proverbs 3:6, “In all your  ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Every day along the way, I sought the Lord for wisdom and discernment, and I asked the Lord to provide and walk with me each day. The process of finding my mom a new place to live can be overwhelming, and I am thankful the Lord sent people who could help me make the best decision.

More on that later. In the meantime, be praying and ask the Lord to help you in your time of need.

Next time I’ll go into those factors you also need to consider. We all want to get our loved ones the best care possible, but there are many things to think about when finding the best place for what could be their final home here on earth.


The Teaching Lady

Bible Gateway

Thankful In 2021: It Is Still Possible





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