As you and your loved ones consider making the move to assisted living, there’s a lot to think about: finding the right location, scoping out amenities, quality of care — the list goes on. High on that list for many is the cost.
With the average cost of assisted living in the U.S. placed at $48,000 per year as of 2018, making sense of the cost can feel overwhelming. According to Casey Byrnes, Director of Sales Enablement at Brookdale, sticker shock is real.
“There aren’t very many people who plan on needing senior living, so understanding the cost and hearing it for the first time can be overwhelming,” Byrnes says.
That said, she says that the team at Brookdale works hard to make the process one that’s easy to understand, starting with a breakdown of what the costs cover depending on the selected pricing model.
There are three pricing models available at Brookdale: all-inclusive, tiered and fee-for-service. Choosing between the three is fundamentally all about what you value and what care needs should be met.
“All-inclusive means there is one fee that covers care without the cost changing as care needs increase or decrease,” Byrnes explains.
“Tiered is usually divided into three or four levels in which a variety of services are grouped.”
She adds that each tier allows for a certain number of care hours per month.
Finally, there’s fee-for-service.
“You pay for what you need as you need it. This option may make customers feel as though they are nickeled and dimed, but ensures they aren’t paying for services they don’t need,” she says.
At Brookdale, there is another unique consideration for pricing: BMSR, or Basic Monthly Service Rate. Byrnes says most people compare this price to rent, but it covers much more than just the real estate of a community.
“While our BMSR covers basics such as apartment upkeep, housekeeping, transportation, laundry, utilities and meals, we are very proud of our Brookdale Signature Program that are included in the BMSR and really set us apart,” she says.
Included in these signature offerings are things like Brookdale’s Signature Seasonings option that provides residents with healthy yet tasty meals, the B-Fit fitness program and the Personal Service System that ensures residents get the personalized daily routine assistance they need, as they need it.
“There are many Brookdale Signature Programs and they make us unique,” she shares.
Even with all the benefits of living in an assisted living community, Byrnes knows the hard costs still can still keep people from making a decision. Luckily, financial help is available through a variety of services like Patriot Angels, Elderlife Financial Services, Paragon Home Resources, Shared Suites and the Brookdale Home Sale Program.
“We are able to partner with several organizations to ensure we can offer prospective residents financial resources,” Byrnes says. “This is oftentimes one of the biggest decisions someone will make in their life, so it’s important that financial resources are available. What’s also great is that we don’t just send you a website. Our sales associates will help you through the process with one of their partners, ensuring prospective residents get what they need.”
With all this to keep in mind, research is one of the best tools. Planning visits to different communities, speaking to experts and finding resources are all necessary steps to take before making a decision. Byrnes also recommends taking a deeper look when touring a community.
“Don’t get caught up in the location itself,” she advises. “Instead, meet the people, the management team and residents. But don’t forget about the caregivers — they make the magic happen.”