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The Cost of Assisted Living

What is the cost of care? Everybody wants to know and within the first 60 seconds, people ask, “How much is this going to cost?” It’s not a bad question. Unless you can afford the car, why bother looking under the hood and kicking the tires if you can first peek at the number on the window and get a clear idea if you’re wasting your time.

Care needs and service preferences are very personal and that’s why every individual will need to evaluate the three factors that make up the cost of care. The three factors are, 1. Quality of Care 2. Level of Care 3. Accommodations.

  1. Quality of Service: Every community and every individual has a different level of acceptance for what good quality is. The difference is hard to measure. The difference of a kind, smiling care team, and people who are there to “do the work.” It’s the difference of someone answering a call button within 60 seconds (the All Seasons standard) or having to wait longer than 10 minutes for assistance. Quality of care is always tied to quality of service.
  2. Level of Care: Every resident is in Assisted Living for a different reason. The question to ask is, “can this community handle my loved one’s care needs today and tomorrow?” The range and complexity of care needs will usually affect the price of care the greatest. With more complexity, comes a need for professional medical attention. The big contributors to complexity and level of care are: memory care, heavy weight, transfer ability, and medication management.
  3. Accommodations: The comfort of a community is a large part of a resident’s experience. Although the feeling a community gives is important to consider, it’s often not a big factor in the price. As a percentage, level of care and quality of service far outweigh the cost of accommodations. Very often, you’ll find that higher quality care and service go hand and hand with nicer accommodations.

According to a 2015 Cost of Care Survey conducted by Genworth Financial assisted living in California at a median costs, charging $3,750. This can easily range all the way up to the California high of $10,650. A big consideration is the structure of how a community posts its pricing.

Two Pricing Structures

Pricing is usually based on level of care needs. There is a starting base, plus fees for medications, and different levels of care. Even though a community may advertise that they start at $4,500, they can easily be close to that ten thousand figure once you add up care needs.

The other price model is “all-inclusive.” This is the All Seasons model. Based on what room is available, in 2016 our prices will be between $6,000-$7,000—period! This way families can calculate the ultimate price of care for as many years as they would like, knowing that there will be no price increase surprises.

Final Conclusion

Long term care is expensive. The most obvious expense of any care community is the people expense. Good care staff members get to know your loved ones and spend weekends, nights and holidays with them. They learn and do all the things that keep a smile on Mom’s face. Good people have the choice to work at the best facilities and that expense unfortunately adds up. If you have any questions about the cost of care, or who can help you plan for the cost of care, please give us a call. Speaking with many folks over the years, we’ve made several contacts who help with long-term care insurance, veterans’ benefits, and estate planning to help pay for the cost of assisted living.