Navigating the Cost of Memory Care
What you need to know to make smart, informed decisions when selecting the best facility for your loved one
One of the most confusing parts about choosing a memory care facility is the cost comparison. You’ll find numerous articles regarding the costs of memory care, but few explanations of pricing structures and how facilities set pricing — which is precisely the information you need to make a smart, informed decision when selecting one memory care facility over another.
This article will shed light on common cost structures, equip you to compare facilities’ pricing, and choose the right care community for your loved one’s needs.
Traditional model, unexpected costs
The most common pricing structure is a traditional rent model akin to renting an apartment and using the space. Many facilities will establish a monthly rental charge that typically ranges from $2,500 to $4,000 per unit. On its face, that charge may seem affordable.
However, these facilities frequently levy additional service-level charges depending on the care needs of the resident. These charges often include daily living activities, such as help with dressing and meal times, and can result in $3,000 to $6,500 in additional fees every month.
That’s not where the charges and fees end. Many facilities also have additional à la carte
charges for direct care. These might include weekly housekeeping and laundry services; phone and cable costs; aid with toileting, dressing, and medication management; nurse visits; and escorts to meals and activities.
Here’s how this cost model can play out: Let’s say you’re being charged $3,000 in rent plus $4,500 in service level costs per month. You therefore expect to pay $7,500 per month for your loved one’s care. However, with the additional charges (which are typically assessed at a quarter-hour cost of $25 for a caregiver’s assistance and $35 for a nurse’s assistance), that monthly payment can balloon quickly. If your loved one needs toileting assistance from a caregiver four times per day, for example, you’ll be charged an additional $100 daily — $3,000 monthly.
Unfortunately, rent-model care facilities also commonly charge medication management fees if your loved one takes more than a predetermined standard amount of medications per day (typically five). This medication management fee typically ranges from $350 to $500.
The below chart shows how the seemingly straightforward rent-model pricing structure can jump from seemingly affordable to surprisingly costly:
|Direct care, a la carte charges ||$3,000|
|Medication management fees ||$350|
What’s more, some facilities also charge à la carte fees for things like transferring wheelchair-bound residents into and out of bed, which means the monthly fee can exceed $11,000.
How the rent model can diminish quality of care
In addition to unforeseen costs, the rent model price structure can have a decidedly negative effect on quality of care. Our own observations and research show that when residents are aware of the additional costs associated with their care, they’re often less likely to ask for help. This can lead to further medical issues and isolation.
The rent model also can create an environment in which facility-employed caregivers take care of residents — but don’t care for them. Facility staff often rush through care to attend to more residents in a shorter amount of time so they can charge more fees. When this is the case, facility caregivers simply don’t have or take the time to make sure residents are receiving adequate attention and sufficient time.
The Moments difference: all-inclusive pricing
At The Moments, we look at the entire person we are caring for and rely on our assessments to provide appropriate care level and service plans. We believe that our Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) should care for the residents in an attentive, thorough way — without worrying about the time it takes.
To that end, The Moments is committed to all-inclusive service-level pricing that prioritizes quality of care. We have four levels of care. The levels are explained in our pricing handout and we discuss this determination thoroughly with our residents’ families prior to their loved one joining our community.
With very few exceptions that may require a higher nursing level, The Moments pricing includes everything: rent, daily housekeeping, laundry as needed, linens, cable TV, and most activities.Our pricing ranges from level one $7,800 to level four $11,900. This means you know what you will be paying for a specific service level each month, with no surprises.
In addition to providing financial peace of mind to our residents’ loved ones, our all-inclusive pricing structure is enormously beneficial to our residents. Caregivers at The Moments don’t rush from task to task and resident to resident. Here, caregivers are able and encouraged to spend as much time as needed with our residents, forging wonderful relationships along the way. Our caregivers are able to get to know residents as the beautiful human beings they are — and not view them as tasks to be hurriedly checked off on a daily to-do list. As our name suggests, we believe every moment counts, and that our all-inclusive approach provides superior-quality care to this vulnerable population.
Questions to ask potential care facilities
There are other questions you should be asking to compare facilities both in both cost and quality of care:
Who’s taking care of my loved one—are they resident assistants or CNAs?
A CNA has gone through a certified course and passed an exam with training in caregiving. The Moments only employs direct caregivers with a CNA.
Do you have licensed nursing on site? What is the schedule? Are they onsite or on call 24 hours a day.
Onsite means a licensed nurse (either an LPN or RN) is in the building at all times, 24/7. At The Moments, we have 24-hour onsite licensed nursing including RNs from 7am to 11pm and LPNs around the clock. We have found this allows for fewer trips to the hospital due to “behaviors” and creates a calmer community throughout the day.
What kind of meals do you serve?
At The Moments, we serve chef-prepared meals created from scratch. Most facilities serve food that is pre-made and warmed up from a food service.
How many dedicated activities or life enrichment personnel do you have?
The Moments has a dedicated activities department with personnel onsite from 8:30am to 7pm daily. Keeping our residents engaged and stimulated throughout the day has proven to lessen behaviors and anxiety, allowing for a better experience for the residents and their families.
Do you take the residents on outings?
The Moments adventure club enables residents to visit museums, zoos, coffee shops, arboretums, stores, and more with a dedicated bus and driver. Participation is optional, and residents who choose not to go can participate in onsite activities.
How often do you offer housekeeping?
We believe that a clean, comfortable environment is essential for our residents’ physical and mental health. To that end we have housekeeping in each suite daily to ensure a clean space for our residents.
The process of choosing the right home for your loved one can be difficult. We hope the information we provided above helps you navigate the journey confidently. We want you to feel equipped to analyze pricing structures and know what questions to ask about quality of care. If you need further help as you determine the best place for your loved one to call home, please don’t hesitate to reach out.