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Hidden Costs of Assisted Living - AgingCare.com

Hidden Costs of Assisted Living - AgingCare.com:

, Expert
Author, speaker, columnist and eldercare consultant

The strong suit for in-home care agencies is their flexibility. During my years of caregiving for multiple elders, I used the services of two different in-home care agencies in the traditional manner, which was to fill the gaps in home care that I couldn't provide for my loved ones.

One of the reasons that assisted living centers are appealing to many people is that they offer a relatively high level of independence. If your parent is in good health and doesn't require much assistance with everyday tasks, assisted living is a terrific option. In fact, residing in an assisted living center is similar to having a private apartment, complete with private bathroom and kitchen, but you can rest easy with the knowledge that trained staff is on hand to help your loved one when necessary.

However, assisted living centers are not all cut out of the same mold. Depending on what part of the country you live in, what you get at assisted living may cost more.

Assisted living facilities provide a safe environment with convenient meals and social opportunities in their "base package." They are generally set up so that an elder can obtain help if he or she falls or has another emergency. Many also offer transportation by bus or other means for group outings or to specific locations.

But what about the basics of personal care: help with dressing, bathing, keeping track of prescription refills, setting up daily doses, injecting medications such as insulin, and a companion for trips to doctor appointments? Many assisted living facilities don't provide it in the "base" package. The services are add-on pricing.

So make sure you understand what services they do and don't offer per the contract, and what services may be available, but would cost extra. You might get some services you are expecting, but not all.

It works differently at different communities. At Emeritus Senior Living in Bonita Springs, FL the base rent is for what is called independent living. Any room could become an assisted room if the resident has a health care need. A caregiver goes to the room to help with showering, medication management and more. But, there's a fee for that.