Families who are just beginning their search for an assisted living facility may assume the price includes unlimited access to all the community's advertised care services. These families quickly realize that different communities offer different pricing models, and "all-inclusive" isn't always the best or most economical choice for every resident.
In addition to all-inclusive assisted living fee structures, some facilities may offer "levels of care" and/or a la carte pricing for access to certain resident services. Before you make a decision about a community for your loved one, it's important to understand your options and choose the one that makes the most sense for their needs and your family's budget.
Here's a brief overview of what's really included with all-inclusive pricing models, the pros and cons, and what other options exist for your loved one.
What is an all-inclusive assisted living model?
At facilities with an all-inclusive pricing structure, your family pays a flat monthly rate that includes everything the community offers to its residents. While the exact services included may vary from facility to facility, most all-inclusive rates cover rent, meals, utilities, housekeeping, laundry, personal care, community programming, transportation, and more. If your loved one requires medication management or special attention from facility staff for their health conditions, this is also typically included in the flat price.
The obvious benefit of all-inclusive assisted living is a consistent, predictable bill. Many families struggle to budget for their loved one's health care costs, but with all-inclusive senior living, it's easier to plan for these expenses. You also don't have to worry about a lapse in care for your loved one in case there's an emergency that isn't covered by a tiered or a la carte service model. Best of all, the rate won't increase, even if your parent or relative requires additional care in the future.
Other assisted living pricing models
The one downside of all-inclusive assisted living is that the price is, naturally, higher than other service models, such as levels of care or a la carte. For families that are concerned about budget, it may be difficult to justify paying for so many services that their loved one is unlikely to need or use in the near-term. Here's what other pricing models generally offer compared to all-inclusive:
Tiered pricing ("levels of care" model)
If your loved one is relatively independent and just needs some basic housekeeping and personal care assistance, you might benefit from a tiered or "levels of care" pricing model. Facilities that offer this option group their services into different levels (usually three or four), and your family can choose the level that's most appropriate for your loved one. Residents may be assessed periodically to ensure they're receiving the right level of care.
If your parent or relative is in a lower tier when they first move to assisted living, it can save your family a significant amount of money upfront. However, if your loved one suffers a health crisis and suddenly needs additional care, it will result in a drastic increase in your monthly bill.
A la carte pricing ("fee for services" model)
The fee for services model charges all residents a flat monthly rate for rent and meals, and all additional services are billed separately. This may include by-the-hour staff assistance, to be used as needed. This is the least expensive option if your loved one consistently requires a low level of care, but the cost of individual services can add up quickly if they do need more help during their stay.
What's best for my loved one?
It can be overwhelming to choose between all the different options offered by assisted living facilities. Ultimately, the right choice for you and your family depends on your financial situation, your loved one's health condition(s) and medical needs, and what they're looking for in a senior living experience.
All-inclusive assisted living is often a good choice for families that want a predictable monthly bill, consistent and comprehensive services, and peace of mind that their loved one has access to everything they need to be happy and healthy, even as their care needs become more complex. However, if you're on a tight budget or you know your loved one doesn't need or want certain offered services, it doesn't make sense to pay for things they won't use.
If you're struggling to find the right assisted living facility for your aging parent or relative, the trusted senior living consultants at Welcome Home Senior Services and Placement Company can help. We represent more than 500 Florida senior living communities and offer free concierge services to assist you in your search. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your loved one's needs.