There are many things to consider when searching for theright living situation for your loved one. Quality of care, activities,environment, location, and more. Although cost won’t be the only thing on yourmind, especially if this is the first time you’ve considered this option,long-term care can be expensive. Not only will you need to understand the costtoday; you’ll also want to make yourself aware of what to expect as healthconditions change. This article will help you ask the right questionsabout how charges are calculated.
There are generally three types of fee structures: FlatRate, Fee-for Service (may be called “point” system), and/or a hybrid,sometimes referred to as Levels of Care. Some places are creative in how theyassess care charges but these three buckets will give you a general idea ofwhat you are most likely to encounter in an Assisted Living environment.
Flat Rate, all inclusive
This type of fee structure is what it sounds like – oneprice which will include rent, meals, amenities, and care. Typically (but notalways), smaller care homes use this system. You may find more are addinglevels of care to the monthly cost.
Set price, even with some change of condition (excluding Hospice, or serious increase in care needs).
Sometimes, because it is an inclusive price, the rate can be somewhat higher.
Fee-for-Service (maybe based on “points”)
In this scenario, you will be charged a set rate for rent,which will usually include things like meals, housekeeping, laundry,activities, some transportation services. Care services are charged accordingto an a la carte menu. For example, if what is required is medicationmanagement, reminders, and assistance with bathing/dressing, each one of thoseservices will be charged according to how much time will be required forcaregiver aid.
Only pay for what you need.
Adds up quickly, especially when health or cognitive function is declining - difficult to plan for future costs.
Incontinence or toileting assistance, dementia related behaviors needing redirection and supervision, and medication management are often some of the higher priced caregiving services.
Levels of Care
What this refers to is usually multiple care servicespackaged together. Each level includes certain services at a set fee (over andabove rent and basic services such as meals, laundry, housekeeping, etc.). Anexample of Level One might be medication management, stand by shower assistance,reminders for meals for a mostly independent person. The cost may benominal but is added to the rent. Each level of care has an increasing numberof services bundled into the package. Levels vary at different communities butthe higher the level of care number, the more you can expect to pay.
Declining health status can keep pricing at lower level for a longer period due to “bundling” of services. Pay only for what is needed.
It is possible that one might not need everything in the higher level of care but may be charged at a higher rate due to one or two care needs not available at the lower level.
Most places will incur an additional charge for Hospice care. Be sure to ask about that!
Does all of this seem confusing? The most important thing toknow is that when you are considering a home or community, keep your attentionnot only on what it will cost today, but what the potential costs might be astime goes on. Make sure you ask the general questions but include those thatare specific to your loved one’s condition. Degenerative illnesses such asParkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and others that increasingly limit one’s ability forself-care are the situations that will often be the most expensive to maintain.
Remember if you have any questions or would like to be in touch with a Senior Care Authority Advisor in your area call (888) 854-3910 for a no-cost phone consultation. We have many resources to share with you. You can also find a local advisor on our website at www.seniorcareauthority.com.