My 94 yo dad has been in memory care since January. His daily care rate just shot up by eighteen hundred dollars for next month, after a corporate audit of services the caregivers are providing for him. The care fee had just increased by $400 due to coordination with hospice, which we just brought on a month ago. So with his rent added in, the monthly fees will have jumped from around $11,500 in January to $14,010 starting in July.

Dad is not bedridden and he can get himself to the bathroom and dining room, and often self-dresses. He does have Parkinson's, advanced prostate cancer, and falls a lot. He sometimes has trouble eating due to lack of dexterity.

I am shocked and angry about this huge fee increase. We are meeting the management tomorrow to discuss, but I'm curious about others' experiences with this sort of highway robbery, and if you did anything about it. I'm afraid to find out what costs will be once he's bedbound!

He's in a very nice facility here in Seattle, but not top of the line. They are struggling with understaffing and high turnover like everyone else.

Thanks for chiming in everyone. Here's what happened at yesterday's meeting:

I went in defensive, polite but very direct about feeling ripped off by the corporation's audit. I made sure to tell the 2 local facility reps that my annoyance was not about them personally. We reviewed the care plan, and the points assigned to each service. We asked clarifying questions. They understood that the points (price) hike would feel distressing. They explained the annual process done by corporate, that there were things not being charged for when Dad moved in that now had been caught by the audit. And Dad had gotten more needy in the 5 months since move-in, which is true.

So they worked with us on the price. It felt like buying a car, where you can't be sure you're really getting a deal, but the new manager penciled this out: "Market rate is now 80 cents per point. Your dad has been at 59 cents per point. Would it work if we put Dad at 50 cents? So the effective increase is $1000 per month, rather than $1850?"

My sister and I talked privately and agreed that Dad is getting good care, though nothing like the 1:1 care he'd hoped for before becoming so decrepit. (It's not perfect, since food is not great and Dad is well aware he's locked in. On lucid days, he says we don't realize how unhappy he is, not even being able to walk around the lobby of the building or the block he's on.) But staff seems well supported by management; they seem content or happy despite some turnover; it's a fancy-ish place; he has a nice 'expanded studio' apartment. (We could save $800/mo if we moved him into a regular studio, but it'd be too disorienting at this late stage. We'd only do it if he becomes bedbound.)

Ultimately, we agreed to their proposed reduced price, knowing that if Dad gets needier it can increase. Since he's on hospice, we don't expect him to last forever. (We're thinking by end of year, but he has fooled us all many times with his propensity to keep going.)

Should we have played hardball? I don't know, and we are not good at it. But that's the outcome, and since it's Dad's money and not ours, we feel we did our best. This whole "warehousing for the aged" is, I always say, a bargain with the devil. I don't have any kids to look after me if/when I get to this stage, so despite his frequent discontent, Dad is lucky to have us advocate for him.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Kablooie
Fawnby Jun 3, 2023
Since you're planning to leave him there for the duration, playing hardball wouldn't have helped the situation. It might have caused management to be angry with you, not want to deal with you at all anymore, and could have repercussions all around. I believe it's always best to stay in someone's good graces when depending upon them for services that we need. You did your best. That's all you need to do.

"We catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

Here's hoping dad adjusts more and comes to some sort of peace with his situation.
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Since this dramatic increase occurred after hospice was brought on, it sounds like to me that the facility is "money grubbing" for every dollar it can get before you Dad passes one.
As one friend of mine says, "their sole purpose is to separate you from your money" Sorry to be so negative.
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Reply to Hedgie

I see you're in the Seattle area. The Everett Herald ran an above-the-fold page 1 article last week (5/30/23) titled: "Everett son's struggle to get mom into assisted living: $22k, 1500 miles." The sub-title of the article is: "John Stejer's mother, 86, is eligible for Medicaid." (Last sentence in Bold). Then this: "But he discovered no place in the state would take her. 'I was actually in disbelief.'" The article chronicles what sounds like a loyal son's struggle to find a place for his mom in the ENTIRE state of Washington, and he struck out. He had to place her in an Assisted Living in Tucson, Arizona. Imagine that! And it sounds like there was significant family support of various kinds.

Worth a read. The paper has a strong paywall but you might be able to get to it online by typing the first main title above in google, and then put "Everett Herald." Failing that, if you go to a library you could get it perhaps. Or go to Sno Isle Library system online and there's also a way to find the article. Too complicated to explain here, but a librarian could help you. Good luck.
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Reply to Christine44

Their expenses have gone up as well, and they're feeling the pinch. That doesn't make it any easier to afford care, but it does explain it.
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Reply to Fawnby

Yes, it is getting out of hand, we are all living too long and there is the supply and demand aspect that has kicked in.

My mother's in AL went up $1,000 a month, my step-mothers in MC $700 a month.

My mother is age 98, in AL she will be out of money in 3 years, IF the rate doesn't escalate at the above rate every year.

My step-mother is 85 in MC, she has enough to go 7 more years, again depending on the rate increases.

I downsized each of them from a 1 bed to a studio, worked out just fine, saved them each $800 a month. The studios are plenty for them. I had also moved them once from one home to another to save $$.

I do not pay for any additional care, the basics are covered and that is where they are at.

We have to do what we have to do.

It is the reality of our life today, you might want to look for another home.
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Reply to MeDolly

Whatever the contract may say, lots of things can be argued in whatever direction you want to argue. There are many sneaky ways to write a contract.

These institutions have lots of lawyers.

They also know you’re very unlikely to move your dad. They’re counting on it, thereby squeezing you in a position where you have to pay.
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Reply to poodledoodle

I am an attorney, not an elder law attorney but contracts are contracts

What does the original contract say about rates and ability to raise rates?

Also, you did not mention it, but based on his age he may be a veteran. If so, and if on hospice, he could get free care at a VA facility OR a private facility with contracts with the VA. My own dad did that with a very nice private place, free, because he was a vet and on hospice.
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Reply to Karsten

I agree, it’s highway robbery! Also, the understaffing is not by chance, and completely preventable. But the business wants to make as much profit as possible, hiring as little labor as possible. I’d like to see how the CEO treated his elderly parents. The CEO is very likely a man.

I’m a man too.

You can try to protest against the fee increase. I would. Just be aware, that you probably won’t succeed in stopping the increase. These institutions have lots of lawyers.
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Reply to poodledoodle

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