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Price Hikes and 5 Other Things No One Tells You About Assisted Living

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Price Hikes and 5 Other Things No One Tells You About Assisted Living

Choosing an assisted living community is one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself or a family member. Naturally you want your loved one to feel cared for, safe, and comfortable. At the same time, you want to ensure they're in a high-quality facility without breaking the bank.

You need to learn about aspects of assisted living you won't find in the community's brochure. It's important to dive deeper than glossy facility photos and enticing promotions to ensure you find the best community for your loved one's needs and well-being. So let's take a closer look at price hikes and five other things no one tells you about assisted living.

1. You May Face Price Hikes

You May Face Price Hikes

Many assisted living facilities offer introductory rates that seem reasonable, and then raise prices after the first year or two. These price hikes can take various forms, from increasing the standard monthly fee to making certain services add-ons that must be paid for a la carte. Either way, you will need to do extensive research on facilities so you don't end up in a situation where you can't pay the bills. If possible, read reviews and talk directly with families who have lived in the community for several years to learn about the pricing structure.

Pro Tip: Check out our guide to assisted living costs to learn more about average costs, how to pay, and ways to save.

2. Many Facilities Have Staffing Shortages

Many Facilities Have Staffing Shortages

As of 2021, roughly 96 percent of assisted living facilities in the U.S. faced staffing shortages of varying degrees.1 Without a high staff-to-patient ratio, many staff members are left feeling burned out and less equipped to provide individualized care to residents.

Did You Know: Staffing shortages can greatly reduce the quality of care, increase employee turnover rate, and even lead to more price hikes at assisted living facilities.

Assisted living communities typically are designed to give older adults a greater sense of independence, but that doesn't mean residents don't need help with certain tasks. It's vital to evaluate the size of the staff and the number of residents at an assisted living facility before you sign on the dotted line. A facility with few full-time staff members or a high turnover rate could provide a poor quality of life for you or your loved one.

3. There Won't Be On-Site Doctors

There Won't Be On-Site Doctors

Assisted living offers aging adults a degree of independence that's usually not available in nursing homes. Nursing homes provide more hands-on care, but assisted living is typically for people who can still perform most of their daily activities without any assistance.

The majority of assisted living communities don't have doctors on site or on call, and many facilities don't employ nurses. Residents likely will need to visit doctors' offices outside the facility. That won't be an issue for independent seniors who don't need frequent medical care and are comfortable traveling to the doctor, but nursing homes will be a better fit for those who need regular medical care or want a doctor or nurse on call in case of emergency.

4. Evictions Are Possible

Evictions Are Possible

Residents can be evicted from assisted living communities for a variety of reasons. If they don't pay their bills, require more care than the facility is licensed to provide, break rules listed in their contract, or endanger other residents or staff members, they may face eviction. It's important to understand the laws regarding evictions in your state. Nursing homes are governed by federal laws, but assisted living communities are not, and laws are dictated by individual states.

Assisted living facilities typically must give at least 30 days' notice and a documented reason for the eviction. Eviction is something we hope our loved ones never have to face, but it's vital to be prepared and understand your rights.

5. Many Facilities Have Enhanced Security

Many Facilities Have Enhanced Security

In addition to individual rooms that have a lock and key, seniors at most assisted living facilities can expect a myriad of security features not always available at other types of long-term care facilities. Most assisted living facilities, for example, have security staff members that monitor the grounds 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Security cameras at entrances and in public rooms also help staff manage activities and keep residents as safe as possible.

FYI: FYI: Want to learn more about assisted living options in your area? Visit our senior living directory to compare facilities near you.

6. Expect Personalized Care

Expect Personalized Care

High prices can be an issue if an assisted living provider uses an a la carte system, but it allows you to customize and personalize each resident's care. Your mother may not need help getting up to go to the bathroom, for example, but she may need assistance keeping her room tidy. Most assisted living providers offer some kind of cleaning service for residents who want or need it. But again, these kinds of services may come at an extra charge, so make sure to read the fine print and understand exactly what a resident can and cannot access without paying additional fees.

Final Thoughts

There are many factors to consider when choosing an assisted living community for a loved one. It's important to look out for both negative and positive qualities, from price hikes and staff shortages to enhanced security and personalized care. Always do your research on an assisted living facility before making any major decisions on behalf of a family member!

Written By

Taylor Shuman

Senior Tech Expert & Editor

For over five years, Taylor has been writing, editing, and researching products and services covering topics such as senior care and technology, Internet and the digital divide, TV, and entertainment, and education. Her research on media consumption and consumer behavior has been… Learn More About Taylor Shuman

Citations
  1. AHCA & NCAL. (2021). State of the Long TermCare Industry.