Senior Living Comparison Guide
What to look for... and what to look OUT for when comparing
Senior Care and Assisted Living Options
What's the deal with all those fees charged by most assisted living and memory care companies? What are Assessment fees, Application fees and Entrance fees?
An assessment or application fee is something a lot of assisted living and memory care companies charge just to have their staff take time to visit with you, and fill out paperwork. This fee ranges from $250 - $1,000, and is usually non-refundable and doesn't count as credit against any other charges, like the first month's payment.
An entrance fee is an up-front fee some assisted living and memory care companies charge just for the "privilege" of moving into their building. This is in addition to all other charges.
Are all of these fees necessary?... No.
Do all assisted living and memory care companies charge these fees? No.
You should choose an assisted living and memory care community that either doesn't charge these fees at all, or if they do charge them, make sure they are fully refundable and/or count as a credit toward your first month's payment.
How can you reduce aggravation and frustration with unexpected costs
for senior housing and care?
Make sure everything you will need is included in the price. Most assisted living and memory care companies tell you about a "low base price", and then charge you extra for every little thing that's needed after you have moved in.
Some companies include everything in the price, like:
- All senior housing services and care for your parent or loved one.
- All real estate expenses including real estate taxes, mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance, and utilities (including cable tv and internet).
- All food, meals, snacks. . . everything.
Beware! Most other companies will charge you extra for each assisted living and memory care service. For example. . . Watch out for "point systems", where you're charged "a point" for everything you need.
You'll find that if everything's not included in the price, you could expect to pay over $1,000 more per month than you need to.
Make sure you get a written promise that everything's included in the price and lock that price in for at least six months. If the senior assisted living and memory care company isn't willing to do this for you, you should seriously consider another choice.
What's the best and easiest way to find out if you'll be getting the best in assisted living and memory care?
Simple. Talk to families who are already getting the benefits of assisted living and memory care.
You should also talk to your doctor and others in the medical community who know about assisted living and memory care and ask for a list of references before you make a decision.
What's the easiest way to reduce aggravation and frustration with assisted living and memory care?
Plan ahead and don't wait until your parent or loved one experiences an extreme health setback. Meet with one of our managers and ask them to explain the different options available to you and your loved one based on their current situation.
What senior housing options are out there?
- Assisted Living and Memory Care
Pros and cons: Obviously, since we're in the assisted living and memory care business, we favor assisted living and memory care as the preferred choice. Assisted living and memory care offers significant advantages over institutional and nursing home care, including:
- People maintain a higher quality of life longer.
- People retain independence and are able to become more active and social.
- A more cost effective option compared to other senior housing options.
- Cons: If a person suffers from a serious medical situation that requires skilled nursing care, that person may have to go to a nursing home and stay long-term if they are unable to rehabilitate from that issue.
- Independent Senior Apartments
- Pros: Less expensive
- Cons: No medical or other services for seniors.
- Nursing Home - The traditional institutional nursing home
- Pros: Skilled nursing care
- Cons: Institutional setting, little or no privacy and expensive
- Home Health Care - In home care
- Pros: Can stay in home
- Cons: Expensive - Between $20-$100 per hour for basic personal care, plus you still have to pay real estate taxes, mortgage, insurance, maintenance, utilities and other expenses associated with home ownership.
Hopefully we've answered your questions in a simple and straightforward way. We'd be glad to answer any other questions you have or help you gather the necessary information before you make a decision.
We've been through this process ourselves with our own families and understand how difficult this decision can be so let us help make it a littler easier.