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Add up the costs carefully

When you’ve narrowed down the field to one or two places you should make sure to review ALL the fees.  The costs for any extra services your loved one may or will need,  the different policies regarding the return of a deposit or down payment, costs involved during hospitalizations, and the possibility of unexpected rate increases. Most costs for assisted living have to be paid out-of-pocket.

The national average monthly base rate for an assisted living unit (which includes room, board, and some personal care) was $3,550 last year, up from $2,379 in 2003, according to a survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute. Make sure you take into account that there is a possibility of additional costs if your loved one starts to need more assistance than the level covered in the starting rate.  An example of this is say your loved ones is basically mobile on their own at the outset when they move in but as their health continues to deteriorate may start to need assistance with things such as personal grooming or they possibly become incontinent and need multiple person assists to handle those same tasks.  The price can go up in a hurry.

Another example, if more help is needed with what are known as basic activities of daily life, for instance: medication distribution, some places charge an extra fee of $347 a month, on average according to the MetLife survey.  There are also a lot of places that charge extra for amenities such as cable tv and laundry service so make sure you have a crystal clear knowledge of all fees associated.

Finally, review the contract carefully or have it review by an attorney before you sign it. You can find one in your area who specializes in elder-care issues on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, at naela.org.

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