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Figuring out the Costs at an Assisted Living Facility

By Christina2 - April 16, 2014

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For many Americans, cost plays a huge role when selecting an assisted living facility. An ideal world see us select the right assisted living facility based purely on it being a good fit, but too often, price is a factor. The right facility may seem like a perfect fit...until the cost per month is revealed. And narrowing down facilities based on cost may end up leaving us with a sub-optimal selection. Here are some of the things included in the monthly cost of an assisted living facility, and what's extra.

Included

Every assisted living facility has a baseline cost they produce to prospective residents, but what's included in that varies. Some facilities offer just a barebones package, while others prefer to package everything together so there are no surprises. But more often than not, there are the same things included in the cost common to almost all facilities.

  • Bed: Depending on the size and layout of the facility, the minimum a senior will get is a bed. Whether or not that bed is in a private room or with someone else varies, but a baseline price usually means with a roommate.
  • Housekeeping: Usually, an employee will come in about once a week and ensure your senior's room is clean and at a liveable standard, although the frequency may be more often.
  • Laundry: Just as with housekeeping, your senior's towels and bed linens (and usually clothes, too) are washed on a regular basis, about once a week. Sometimes it may be more often, but once a week is a good number to go with.
  • Meals: Your senior will be fed three times a day, with most assisted living facilities not charging extra for things like vegetarian meal options or assisted feeding.
  • Health Monitoring: The staff at the assisted living facility generally don't charge extra for their services, which include basic healthcare like administering medication, assistance with mobility, and co-ordinating medical appointments.
  • Social Activities: Whatever's on the slate in terms of activities at the assisted living facility, your senior can take part in them. This can be as extensive as field trips into the community, or as laidback as Sunday Bingo.
  • Extra Costs

    Because assisted living facilities vary so much in their scope, the extra services vary as well. Here are some, though, that are almost always extra.

  • Private Transportation: If your senior has an appointment outside of the facility, that'll be an extra cost the way you would pay for gas or the bus if it was your appointment.
  • Guests: Having people (such as yourself and your family) visit your senior is totally fine, but there's usually a cost if you want to share meals with them or use a guest apartment for overnight stays.
  • Extra Activities: Sometimes, your senior has broader taste in activities than what's offered at the assisted living facility, such as travel, the arts, sporting events, or anything else. If they're not included in the roster of the facility, they'll almost always be labeled as extra costs.
  • Extra Services: The basics, such as housekeeping and laundry, are usually included in the monthly cost. But "extra" services, such as room service, a beauty salon, barbershop, dry-cleaning, or more frequent laundry, are usually added on after the preliminaries.
  • Because each assisted living facility is so different, figuring out what's included in the monthly cost and what's extra can be a tricky proposition. The safest bet is to call up individual assisted living facilities and get a firsthand answer, but use this article as a general guide to help you frame your questions.