I need advice on meeting with Assisted Living manager.

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My mother has lived at her current assisted living facility for almost 2 years. She has dementia and is slowly requiring more and more assistance daily, which, of course, costs more.

We were recently made aware of a "move-in special" at her AL where a new resident would get a flat rate for their care with the cost never increasing as their needs increase. This rate was not offered to us since my mother is already a resident.

I have requested to meet with the manager of her assisted living to discuss the possibility of getting this offer.

One of the reasons that we moved Mom here (400 miles away) was because the AL where she had lived for 3 years previously had increased Mom's rates to an extreme and we found out that she was paying much more than most of the other residents, even though she required very little assistance at that point. Because we had never complained, they just kept piling on the fees to the base cost of her apartment every year. Once we questioned this, they reduced their rates, but not before we had spent thousands of dollars needlessly.

That's when I realized that AL's are more like shopping for a new car than walking into a department store and paying whatever is on the price tag. I sure wish I had known to negotiate years ago.

Anyway, at her current AL, Mom's apartment is shown to prospective residents and featured in their marketing materials because knowing how important her surroundings have always been to her, we decorated it "like a model home" (according to her). She loves it and keeps it to perfection. She also is a pleasant, although confused and confusing at times, resident that the staff seem to genuinely love. She doesn't cause scenes or take an inordinate amount of the staff's time.

So, with that background information - do any of you have any experience in negotiating in this situation - where we are already committed?

Money IS a concern with us. Her family has a history of living well into their 90's and we need to plan accordingly - 15 years out. We don't want to move her again, because the move here set her back at an alarming rate, so I don't think she'd recover (mentally) from another one.

Any advice here would be so appreciated!


3931 helpful answers
You may want to check with the long-term care ombudsman (go to www.ltcombudsman.org and type in the Zip code for the AL). This person could give you advice that may help you negotiate.
Unfortunately, many businesses make special offers to new customers. I've personally been on the other end of these things where I've thought, "Hey, I've been a loyal customer for years - what about me?" But this is their way of bringing in new people. It's the way of many businesses. So, I don't know if you can negotiate, but likely you can. Your ombudsman may have some ideas.
Good luck,
Hooray for you for keeping a close watch on your mom's finances & planning for the future. For the past 6 months, I have toured several AL homes for my dad. Some have a flat rate, some additional monthly fees and some use the point system for extra services. I understand businesses use promotional rates to bring in new customers, but how about retaining the old ones? I live in Oregon & the places here have been very upfront about their fees & services. We are getting ready to place dad in a home we chose, but I will make sure his room is not shown & that any future increases are spelled out. I agree, try to negotiate. Ask to tape the meeting, so you have a record of any verbal agreements. Each move must be upsetting for your mom & the family. My dad is 88 & his family also has a long life span. I have been calculating how many years of care we can afford until we have to sell his last piece of real estate. I wish you the best of luck. Thank you for enlightening me.
I work at an IL and AL community. We offer very few concessions on rent and care fees. What you're reporting is a red flag for me. There are communities in our area that are much like the one you're describing, i.e. the rate a resident is paying depends upon their negotiating ability, they are not the best communities. They use bargaining to get sales because their community doesn't have the best rep. But, it sounds like you're satisfied with the community, so maybe it's just a reality of the marketplace in your area. If it's oversaturated and occupancy rates are low, communities will wheel and deal to keep their apartments filled and you've got to get in there and bargain. The fact that your mom is a beloved resident is a factor. Meet with the executive director and be honest about what you want an why you want it. Tell them that, given your mom's health and life expectancy, you want her funds to last so she can live there until the end of her life. They certainly don't want her to move out, not now or in the future. Do your homework before the meeting. Make a spreadsheet, showing your mom's assets and how long they'll last. Most importantly, have a goal in mind. Don't just try to bargain for the 'best deal' you can get. That will often get you nowhere. You'll stand a much better chance of getting what you want if you know (and state) what you want.
Thank you all so much for responding. I think the director is avoiding me right now, since I've seen him the last 3 times I've been in.

Great advice that I will pursue. Thank you all.

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