Four Assisted Living Services that May Cost Extra
Assisted living communities are trying to become more inclusive as to what they offer for the monthly fee. Though most communities are jumping on board with this idea there are still a few that may offer the services, but tack on an additional fee residents may not be aware of. It is always best to ask about each service and the fee associated with that service. Where most services will be covered under one fee some may be listed and vague about what fee they carry. Here are four assisted living services that may cost extra for a resident.
Care Plan Transitioning
Most assisted living communities will be happy to update a care plan if the resident needs new services. The thing to be aware of is that some of these care plan adjustments may have a hidden fee depending on the service the adjustments will provide. If you or your loved one is transitioning from a basic assistance care plan to a more advancement care plan, such as physical therapy or full care, you may want to ask what the associated fee is for those services. A change to the care plan can increase the monthly fee as much as $500 or more.
Senior communities that are inclusive, meaning they offer Independent living as well as assisted and ongoing care, will have various levels of services. Each level has a different associated cost. The most common additional cost in this type of community is linked to dietary plans and needs. For example, if you join an inclusive retirement community and choose an independent living plan you may be offered two prepared meals a day with the third being prepared in your apartment or home by you or a family member. If you need to change the dietary plan to include all three meals and those meals have special options, such as a low-sodium plan, your monthly fee could go up. To avoid any surprises, ask the administrative staff about all of the fees associated with dietary plans and request a print out detailing those fees for your reference.
There are some assisted living communities that consider certain services as concierge services. Transportation, medication call in and pick-up, pet walking services, dry cleaning drop off and pick up and other services would fall under this category. If you live in an assisted living community that offers these services, be sure to check for a print out of the fees associated with each service. You may find that transportation to and from appointments, church or meetings is covered but transportation for shopping trips is only covered for certain scheduled trips. Additional trips, appointments and meetings may have an additional fee.
The best step to take to avoid additional or hidden charges is to request a fee schedule when you meet with the administrative staff during a tour. Glance over the fee schedule and make notes about fees you may not see listed or fees that appear vague. Write your questions and re-visit the questions with the staff at a second meeting. For more information on hidden fees and how to avoid them, visit our Senior Center or read our July 25, 2012 article “Interviewing Assisted Living,” which discusses the process of touring a community and what to ask during that tour.