Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Parent’s Assisted Living Facility just raised their fee! Can they do that and why?

By Bob Gregory

The short answer is yes they can and often do!  Most Assisted Living Facilities are very forthcoming with the fact their contract allows them to add charges to the base fee—sort of a la carte if you will.  In fact, the facilities who follow industry best practices will explain potential increases, how much they will be and what events trigger the charges.  Very few facilities bury these additional charges in the legal fine print and most will have you initial that you understand the additional charges.  However, it’s always a shock to find out your parent’s monthly fee just went up and you should ask for clarification and justification.  So what are the reasons your parent’s fee may go up?  Let’s examine some of the more common reasons so you have a better understanding.  As you read on, I want you to keep in mind your parent’s health and why they needed the Assisted Living Facility when they first moved to the facility and mentally compare their health and needs today.

Reasons an Assisted Living Facility charges additional fees:

  • Incontinence and toileting-this is a very common reason you may see your parent’s fee increase.  When a resident begins having issues with Incontinence, the facility usually provides adult diapers, pads etc.  Further, the facility may be changing bed sheets daily or even multiple times per day.  There may be additional laundry services needed for soiled clothing as well.  The resident may also physically require help toileting where as when they first arrived they were capable on their own 
    accord.  All of these items require expenditures and additional staff hours.
    three purees dinner
    three purees dinner
    Photo credit: ekornblut)
  • Dietary-another common cause for increased fees are special dietary needs.  Special diets may require foods that are not normally served by the facility.  Further, changes in the ability of the resident to consume the food may have changed.  Some residents must have their food cut into bites for them and some may be at a point that their food must be served in a purée. Again, these all require additional staff hours and expenditures for special foods.
  • Mobility changes-a change in mobility for a resident can range from not being capable of gripping with their hands all the way to no longer being able to walk.  A resident’s need for assistance in dressing, bathing, or eating all cause additional staff hours.  Special care must be shown to residents 
    Wheel Chair
    (Photo credit: christine.gleason)
    who are experiencing difficulties walking, standing and moving, in general—all requiring extra care.
  • Medical changes-the most common need for additional care for medical reasons usually arise from memory deterioration.  A resident experiencing Dementia or onset of Alzheimer needs additional help.  In some cases, they may need to be transferred to a special Memory Unit in the facility.  There are other medical reasons as well that cause additional fees such as decreased vision or hearing.
If you are in charge of your parent’s finances, check the billing monthly for any increase.  If your parent still handles their finances, then you also need to check the bill monthly.  As with any bill, you should question charges that you didn’t authorize.  The increases may be well within the facility’s rights, but ask for an explanation of the increase.  Also, ask for time to have your parent evaluated by their physician before additional charges are applied.  Some conditions such as Incontinence may be caused by a medical condition and may be short term.  If you feel the facility is being unreasonable, shop around and see what other facilities charge for similar situations. 

Most facilities are very slow to charge additional fees and most will discuss with you prior to charging them.  I asked you to keep in mind your parent’s health when they first moved in as compared to when the facility began charging additional fees so you might have a better understanding of why there are additional fees.  If you don’t believe your parent’s health has declined, make sure you get a medical opinion and then discuss the situation with the facility.  I think you will find most facilities will be willing to work with you if your parent cannot afford the increase as most do not want to lose a resident. 

If would like a list Independent Living Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope you will consider
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider

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1 comment:

  1. Retirement communities are established in the United States. You can get many ideas from other people easily. It is also good if you search for 55 and over communities in new york to ask them about the common changes that are possible to happen in the future. Making comparisons is also good and you are right here, you should always check your bills.