Assisted Living Communities: Looking Beyond the Price Tag
If you’re shopping for an assisted living community for yourself or a loved one, it’s easy to get sticker shock. The monthly fees are nothing to sneeze at! But when considering these prices, you also have to remember that you’re not just paying for rent. These fees are also paying for many services and amenities, not the least of which is your care.
To prepare you for what to expect, we’ve randomly called seven assisted living facilities in the Greater Richmond, VA, area to come up with the high and low end of costs (among our test group) as well as determine some of the factors affecting these prices.*
Let’s start with the dollars
Pricing a “studio” unit, which generally includes living/sleeping space and a private bath, the communities we called charged between $2,000 and $5,250 a month, with the average being $4,018.
Communities can cost more because of newer construction, more lavish décor, location or other bells and whistles, but prices also can vary within a single facility because of size and floor plan of unit, the floor it’s on and level of care. If a facility does not base their cost on level of care, you may pay a bit of a premium but you also won’t incur a price increase as your health changes.
What does that include?
All of the communities we called include utilities, transportation, three meals, housekeeping, social activities, emergency response, and personal care (help with bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.) in their costs. What varies is whether the facilities provide laundry and cable gratis, the level of medication management included and the cost of an extra person ($1,000 to $1,500, with one facility charging $1,999 per person for a shared unit).
Features you can’t put a price on
Before you choose a community, spend some time there—talk to the staff, meet some residents, have a meal. Finding a community where you’ll feel safe, secure and comfortable is priceless.
*We are not naming the facilities with the highest and the lowest costs because of the many variables affecting those costs. Costs may vary in different parts of the country.