We get a lot of emails from adult children who, for one reason or another, have helped their aging parents move into an assisted living facility. And more often than not, those emails are about how shellshocked they are when the bills start arriving.
Yes, long-term care in an assisted living facility is expensive, no matter which way you cut it, but don’t be a victim! Moving a parent into an assisted living facility is hard enough on everyone in the family; you don’t need to be blindsided by the costs as well. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind to protect your parent and yourself from the costs of long-term care:
Be Realistic About How Much Care Your Parent Will Need
When you’re researching assisted living facilities for you parent(s), be realistic about how much care they will need as time goes on. By the time your parent needs to enter an assisted living facility, it’s very likely that they will need progressively more care and assistance every few months until they pass away. Most assisted living facilities have “tiers” of care. As the elderly age and become less able to take care of themselves, they are moved to progressively higher tiers of care which are also progressively more expensive. Don’t assume that your parent’s assisted living facility’s fees will be the same the entire time that they are there. They’ll probably be going up and you should be prepared.
Bring Along a Friend or Other Family Member to Meetings
Unfortunately, moving a parent into an assisted living facility is almost always a very stressful situation, even in the best of circumstances, and more often than not, it’s preceded by an accident or other medical emergency. With so much going on, it’s understandable that much of the discussion of costs and care can fly right over peoples’ heads, so we strongly suggest that you try not to do it alone. Bring along a friend or other family member to ask questions that you may forget and generally help share the burden of paperwork. Another set of eyes and ears can be an enormous help in a stressful time, and can help maintain some perspective of what will actually be involved in your parent’s care.
Make Sure You and Other Family Members Attend Meetings at the Assisted Living Facility
Of course, it’s generally a good idea to monitor how you parent is doing at any healthcare facility, but it’s particularly a good idea to keep track of how your parent is doing as an assisted living facility. As we mentioned, chances are, your parent’s assisted living facility fees will be going up as they become less able to take care of themselves. Well, the best way to be sure that the increased fees are consistent with your parent’s condition is to make sure that you or another family member attends regular meetings about your parent’s condition at the facility. If you feel that your parent’s assisted living facility is being overly aggressive about the care your parent needs, speak up about it!
Are you researching assisted living facilities for your parent(s)? Tell us about it!
- Long-Term Care Awareness Month: Have You Talked to Your Mother About Her Long-Term Care?
- Medicare Standards for Home Care and Nursing Home Care Too Strict, Courts Say
- Healthcare Reform and Long-Term Care: How Can I Sign Up for the CLASS Program?
- Will Long-Term Care Insurance Go the Way Of the Dodo? How You Can Prepare Yourself For Long-Term Care
- How Much Do Children Suffer When Parents Are Uninsured?