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Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on June 19th, 2013

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Price vs. Value for Assisted Living

united methodist homes  |  assisted living  |  assisted living ct  |  senior living ct  |  bishop wicke shelton ct  |  assisted living pricing  |  Aging & Caregiving

Price vs Value in Assisted Living

How do you know if you are getting a good value for the price?  It is not always easy to figure out, especially when it comes to choosing an assisted living community.  When you go grocery shopping you can compare apples to apples but even when you compare assisted living communities by similar amenities and price, it is sometimes as clear as mud.  How do you make the right decision?  Seniors and caregivers have their life savings and financial security at risk.  The first thing you must do is determine if you have enough to live comfortably at the community for at least three years.  Keep in mind that the average length of stay for a resident is two and a half years so you will want to make sure that you can afford the lifestyle.

The old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” holds true for assisted living as well.  You are not buying a car or a house where negotiation is key. You are looking for a place to care and nurture you or your loved one.  If you are getting a “deal”, make sure you understand why.  Many communities offer cut rate prices because they have many vacancies and want to move you in to meet a quota.  Take the time to really get to know the people who will be providing your care and support.  Are they the kind of people you would want by your side through difficult times?  The reality is that as you or your loved one continues to age, you will rely on the nursing, care giving and administrative staff for guidance, love and support; all things that money can’t buy.

Assisted Living Versus Current Living Expenses

When contemplating a move into assisted living, first you will want to compare current living expenses, including in-home care services (if applicable) with the service package offered in assisted living.

To help you determine costs with a high degree of accuracy, you can find financial calculators online to help seniors find the best value for money. Many assisted living communities also provide financial calculation worksheets. Overall, these are helpful tools to compare contracted in-home care versus the value of services at an assisted living community.

The Range and Type of Services at Assisted Living

Another way of comparing price vs. value for assisted living is to evaluate the range and type of services they provide versus what is achievable in a home setting or in a skilled nursing setting. Similar to doing a cost-benefit analysis, this comparison will help you gain clarity on which environment best suits your needs. For example, picture these lists of services from assisted living and their benefits to you versus your home services or skilled nursing care.

Assisted Living Services:

  • Residents may choose an apartment based on square footage to meet their needs and preference which are designed to enable more independence with a variety of handicap access features.

  •  Monthly fees are tailored to the level of care required by residents and may vary from month to month according to the resident’s varying care needs.

  • Scheduled transportation services are available to take residents to their appointments and other needs around town; this gives residents the feeling of freedom, safety and security.

  • General housekeeping services are offered to residents, which include: cleaning and laundry service, dining and meal preparation, and 24 hour concierge; freeing them up from burdensome chores which gives them more time to be engaged in the life of the community which has been shown to improve health outcomes.

  • Security around the clock offers a haven of safety.

  • An atmosphere that promotes daily interactive programs both indoors and outdoors emphasizes the importance of belonging and minimizes feelings of depression.

In the end, you may find that the key difference in favor of one assisted living over another is quality of life, and there’s no better value than that!

Key Takeaway

  • Choosing an assisted living community is unlike any other financial decision and many factors need to be taken into consideration, price being just one.

  • Seniors and care-givers who are concerned about the expense of an assisted living community will do well to compare current living expenses, including in-home care services (if applicable) with the service package offered in assisted living and the cost of skilled nursing.

  • A variety of financial calculators are available to help seniors determine affordability.

  • In the end, a higher quality of life may be the ultimate decision-maker when comparing communities.

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

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