If you are joining us for the first time, welcome. I am doing a mini-series on assisted living facilities. In August 2021, I had to find my mom a new place to live. My home, my abilities, and raising my grand-nephew are not conducive to the kind of care she requires, so I set out to find the best place possible within her budget. Let me tell you something – it’s not an easy task, especially when you are doing all the looking by yourself.
When we were together, I shared the private pay cost to move into an assisted living facility. It’s not cheap, and there are a lot of factors to consider.
Today I want to talk about those factors. When considering a place to live, you need to ask what is included in the price.
I set up a spreadsheet to keep track of who I talked to and what they offered. It gets too confusing trying to manage it on a sheet of paper. Don’t worry about what categories to list on the spreadsheet. Once you talk to a few, you will have a good idea of what everyone has to offer. There are some minor differences, but for the most part, everyone is similar.
Here are a few of the things included in the monthly price. Not all places are the same.
- Three meals a day from a top-notch chef. (Most places brag about their cooks.) Don’t put much stock in the quality.
- Someone cleans their room weekly. Trash is emptied more often.
- A call button for fall emergencies – some call this life alert.
- 325 to 450 square feet of luxurious living space. More space, more money.
- A small refrigerator like the kind you would find under someone’s desk.
- Transportation up to 10 miles away to doctors and the grocery store
- Handicap equipped bathroom
- 24-hour nurse on-site – if they have an emergency at 1 am.
- Activities like bingo, music, church, arts and crafts, or television time.
- Some places offer a hairstylist, ice cream parlor, internet room, country store.
If your loved one needs care, the price goes up. There is an additional cost if they need help with managing their medications. Depending on what they need, the extra cost can start from $300 to $500 for the first level of care and go as high as $2,400 for the top level. The level of care is not included in the base rate.
Before I forget, each place I spoke to charges a move-in fee. Depending on the place, the move-in fee was anywhere from $2,000 – $3,000. This fee is in addition to the first month’s rent. A small piece of advice that worked for my cousin but didn’t end up working for me – negotiate the terms. Try to lock in a three-year rate or a life-long rate. If you can find someone willing to lock in the rate for three years, you are doing great because most places will increase the rent each year by 3% to 5%.
With each level of care, new services will be added to the list of what the home provides.
These include things like:
- Assistance with showering. I didn’t see any bathtubs in these units. All I saw were walk-in showers which are preferred.
- Assistance with getting dressed.
- Help to go to the bathroom, and may include changing diapers.
- Help to get in and out of bed.
- Help to get to the dining room for meals.
- Help taking medications.
Depending on the level of care, these things are done once a day up to multiple times a day, per week.
Some places escort your loved one to and from the dining room for every meal if that is what they require. They will help them bathe every day, get dressed, and make their bed.
While the monthly cost sounds high, the amount of care each day has to be considered. Essentially, the staff is doing all the things your loving parent used to do on their own. Some say it’s like having a small child all over again; only the clothes are much bigger, the movements are a lot slower, and the bones are more brittle.
What’s next on your journey to find the perfect place for your loved one?
The tours. You need to see the place in person or via the internet to understand better whether the assisted living facility will be a good fit for your loved one. I found that pictures online do not always represent the home’s current condition. It is best to go and tour the facility. Look at flooring, bathrooms, the outside of the building, and what the residents are doing to get a better feel of the place. I toured a familiar facility a few years back only to discover they had let the maintenance go. If they let the maintenance of the building go, what would happen to my mom?
Looking for a place for your loved one is no small task. You want the best care. Be prepared to spend hours on the phone, sometimes daily, discussing your loved one and what you need and can afford. I spent every waking available moment searching for a place for my mom. I knew if I didn’t make the right choice, I would hear about it later.
Do all you can to find the right place for your loved ones because once they get settled in, it’s challenging to move them again.
There’s so much more to share with you about what I learned.
Check back next time as we talk about the process of pre-approval.
Let me leave you with a promise from God’s word from 2 Corinthians 9:8.
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
To God be the glory for great things he has done!
The Teaching Lady