The Cost of Assisted Living…
When my in-laws went into assisted living last year, we set up a care plan for them that included assistance with bathing for both of them. MIL (Mother in law) really loves having someone help her bathe, to scrub her back, and dry her thoroughly, and really does need the assistance, even to dress. FIL (Father in law)… not so much. He’s had a few falls, so we really felt that having some supervision at least would be a good thing, even if he didn’t need actual bathing or dressing assistance. Naturally, this assistance is an extra charge, over and above the rent. Which means we’ve been paying a monthly charge for this service since last April. And, as of the first of this year, the ALF (Assisted Living facility) has increased the price for these services.
The problem is that FIL does not wait for the aides to help him; he bathes when he wants to (not often enough, in my opinion), and doesn’t think it necessary to wait until someone is there to help. So paying for him to have this assistance is a complete waste of his money.
The other problem is that MIL has been on hospice care since September, and hospice provides aides to assist her with bathing and dressing at no cost to us. So for the past 6 months, either we’re paying for services she’s not getting from the ALF, or Medicare, who pays for the hospice services, is doing so for services she’s not getting from hospice. Either way, these services are being doubly paid for, either straight from their finances, or via the taxes which support Medicare.
This is the sort of thing that no one warns you about: the way the care facilities will add service costs when necessary – but conveniently “forget” to remove those charges when they are no longer warranted. And it is complicated further by MIL’s imperfect memory of exactly what is going on.
Frankly, MIL’s memory is not what it was. She doesn’t remember names as she used to, or what positions people hold. She doesn’t remember who did what, or why. So she will tell us one thing… but the paper trail says she is completely wrong. Between the two, I’m going to believe the paper trail.
More on The Cost of Assisted Living and The Need to Oversee Those Charges..
My husband had a talk with the ALF director about FIL’s bathing assistance charges; she looked into it, and has agreed that not only are those charges not warranted, but they should be refunded. However, the subject of his mom’s assistance was sort of dropped. This led me to a discussion with the management of the hospice agency, and now to an email sent to the ALF director. In this case we are not asking for a refund – although that would be nice, and we have reasonable grounds for doing so – just that this charge be discontinued.
It really isn’t all that much; maybe a couple of hundred dollars a month. But that couple of hundred dollars, over a year’s time, would add up to a couple of thousand. Given the costs of some medications, the high cost of keeping someone in a good care facility in the first place, it’s very important to watch over the budget. We need to balance making sure they have everything they need AND some of the extras with being able to make their money last as long as they do. It’s a tightrope – but it’s well worth doing. Nothing would be worse than having to move them because of lack of money.