How to Create a Budget for Assisted Living

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After you have narrowed your search of appropriate assisted living facilities to a few likely possibilities, you should ask for more specific costs. Here are some basic questions suggested by the National Center for Assisted Living:

  • What is included in the basic monthly cost? Ask for written information.

  • Does the residence have a written schedule of fees for extra services? If so, request a copy.

  • Under what circumstances might the fees change? How much notice is given for fee increases?

  • Is a security deposit and/or an entrance fee required? What is the refund policy?

  • Can service agreements and/or contracts be amended or modified?

With this information you can create a budget for monthly costs that includes

  • Basic services, whatever model you choose

  • Potential additional services, such as

    • Personal laundry

    • Medication assistance

    • Recreational field trips

    • Transportation

    • Telephone

    • Cable television

    • Internet service

    • Beauty shop or barber

    • Special diets (if available)

    • Other charges

In coming up with a budget, be sure to consider what costs you will no longer be paying (snow removal, gardener, housekeeper) and what costs will simply be transferred to a new provider (telephone, cable television). Most meals will be provided (depending on the plan), but you may still want to eat at a restaurant occasionally.

Don't forget that costs are more likely to go up than down. This is especially true as more personal care and medical services become necessary.

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