Information on Assisted Living costs, a single source?

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Wouldn't it be so much better if all asst living were required to put their complete rates for rent and services, on their website or they would tell you everything about their prices, without an in-person visit? It is so time-consuming to drive out to each one. Why do they hide their prices? I suspect because they are so darn expensive.....but, if someone can't afford it, then why would they want to waste their time on meeting with me?


Assisted Living Facility is a business, whether non-profit or for-profit. All pricing is negotiable depending on whether cash payment, insurance co-pay with negotiated rates, Medicaid subsidized, etc. I don't pay the same amount at the doctor's office with medical insurance through United Health that someone with Humana, or Medicare, or cash payment does. I probably won't pay the same price for a car, or a house, that someone else pays. The only posted prices that match online are usually food service, and even they cannot tell you final cost of a meal if you add alcohol, are a big tipper, etc.
The assisted living facility wants you to come out (like a car lot that will advertise pricing a vehicle online but it's rarely the final price that you pay:-) to see what's available and what combination of services you might want (or add-ons). Even if ALF posted a list of prices, it is not necessarily what your LTC, or Medicaid, or private pay final amount out of pocket would end up being after all adjustments are made. If you have a hard-and-fast budget and know what you cannot spend MORE than, call in advance and talk with someone in business office. Remember, the ALF is told by everybody that it's too expensive and that elders cannot afford it. Even wealthy folks don't want to pay a cent more than they have to. Without meeting with you an ALF really cannot give you a firm price. My son is getting ready for college, and the same thing exists with financial aid. No college's posted prices are the final ones after grants, scholarships, etc. are figured in.
AL prices are negotiable? Wow I never knew I could ask them to drop their price. I've been to about 2 dozen in 18 or so months, and they just give me a huge (and confusing ) packet of info. The worst part is the "menu" is different at each facility. Some include 10 meals/month, others 3 meals a day (I wanna move there myself LOL no cleaning the kitchen!). As I have mentioned elsewhere here on AC, I wish mom could live in nice 1 BR Asst Living and have it cost exactly what her current housing & meal & caregiver costs are. Sigh. But every time I visit someplace, the cost is about $5,000/month or more.
ALF may not "drop their price" - but how much you pay out of pocket after you factor in any LTC, Medicaid if eligible, coupons or free trial offers, facility discounts if you prepay 6 months, discounts if you are part of a professional organization, etc. IS negotiable. ALF will almost always cost more than person spends in current situation because the senior/caregiver is trying to get a higher level of service than senior and caregiver/s is currently getting. No reason to change otherwise, right? Access to medical staff or therapists on site, perhaps; or access to full service cafeteria, cleaning service, variety of companionship, bus transport to medical appointments, supervised activities on site or transport to ones off site, etc. The ability to have the primary caregiver have a life OUTSIDE of the needs of the elder 24/7/365. You also pay for all services offered by a facility, whether or not you use them. Like a health club - they have pools, bicycles, tennis courts - all costs that are included in the overall operating cost of the business, whether you sit on that stationary bike or not:) And like the health club, you are paying a different fee than person sitting next to you - free pass for weekend, family member, discounted fee for multiple years, etc. I hate the negotiating too - just tell me the final cost up front. But that is not how American retail capitalism works, sad to say. Good luck with your hunt.
Thank you guestshopadmin. Mom basically sits & watches TV all day,.and eats. We have enjoyed visiting a few places, and she is willing to move, but always complains the rooms are so small. She does love the variety of foods--and I agree the benefit of myself having freedom to pursue my career again, would be worth it even if mom runs out of funds in 3-5 yrs. It has been SO helpful to read about everyone's input here on AC.
There is no single price, because the level of care is factored in. On the phone people will say mom is just fine. Mom will say she is just fine. Then mom moves in and falls down a lot, which nobody knew about, and mom gets into spats at her table or insults the cook or thinks the aides are taking things from her room or misbehaves on field trips and wanders off as she pleases.
Yeah, the price is going to vary even for the same patient in the same facility, it is always going to go up, up, and up. And there seems to be no shortage of people willing to pay $5,000/month (average cost in our area). Even the very expensive places, have a wait list. Wish there were more choices and some way to lock the price for rest of her life. It's hard to predict when to move her in.....if she can afford 6 years at current price, or maybe it is only 3 yrs....we wish to avoid Medicaid due to lack of private room.

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