How Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities Charge
Mike McClernonOct 26th, 2020
Financial & Legal Considerations
Assisted Living and Memory Care communities fall into two types relative to how they charge- All-Inclusive or Rent + Care.
These communities charge one monthly fee to cover virtually every cost associated with living in that community. Only a few Assisted Living communities on Long Island and in the NYC area use this model. Most of these communities focus on the more stable and less needy (from a care standpoint) portion of the senior population. Many Memory Care communities (and Memory areas within larger Assisted Living communities are converting to this All-Inclusive pricing model.
While the monthly charge for these All-Inclusive Memory communities can be high, the cost of caring for these seniors is high and generally keeps rising as time goes on. All-Inclusive can be a good value for Assisted and Memory Care communities.
Rent + Care Model
This model is the most common. In it, there is a base charge for living in the community and an additional charge for the resident based on the level of care required for them each day. This model charges for three fundamental services. These three are Rent, Care, and Medication Management.
Rent is by far the biggest fee that potential new residents face. In fact, some residents only pay this charge and have no other costs of consequence in Assisted Living or Memory Care. And to be clear - the term “RENT” is not an accurate term. For most Communities, Rent covers the following services:
- Physical rent of the space the senior lives in – anywhere from a shared, single room to a three-bedroom luxury apartment
- All meals and snacks
- Daily and weekly cleaning of the room
- Weekly laundry
- Use of the facilities of the entire building – gym, library, salon, bistro, movie theater, and all other facilities
- Access to doctor’s offices within the building (although the actual doctor bills are paid in a normal way by the senior)
- Daily group activities, which typically number about 10
- Most outside trips
- General supervision by staff day to day in the common areas of the building
- About 3 hours/week of personal, physical care for the senior
The second charge is “CARE.” This term covers the “Assisted” part of Assisted Living, and the Care charge and activity fills the same function in Memory Care. Seniors often need help with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). These include bathing, dressing, ambulating (moving from place to place), toileting, and other common things everyone does every day. Indeed, help with these activities is why Assisted Living communities exist. They provide support for ADLs in a group setting, allowing one aide to assist several residents.
When a senior is evaluated prior to entry into an Assisted or Memory community, the nurse or case manager doing the evaluation spends a good deal of time learning the type and level of care required by the senior. The evaluator then plans the number of hours each week the person will need assistance and builds an initial care plan for the person that charts out, in detail, how many hours of support for ADLs that the person will need each week. The community will then present a care plan and a charge for that care, typically putting the care into one of several buckets (Low, Medium, High, Very High). This care cost can range from $0 for a relatively independent senior to $2,500 or more for a senior who needs a great deal of attention each day.
Medication Management Charges
One of the major reasons that seniors deteriorate at home is that they do not take their medications fully and/or on time each day. The Assisted and Memory communities typically take over responsibility for dispensing all meds (usually at mealtime). They also typically do the testing to determine dosages for meds like insulin. The nurses or aides who dispense the meds keep careful track of all medications, and they make sure that the residents take the meds. Some residents have no meds and have no medication management charges, while others are taking multiple medications each day and incur a monthly Medication Management charge.
Virtually all communities charge for incidentals like haircuts, salon services, visitor meals, and the actual charges for outside trips (tickets to a movie or concert, for example).
Mike McClernon, senior care advisor and owner of Assisted Living Locators of Long Island, can help your family find the right community to meet your senior's needs, wants, and budget. Contact us today!