It may take some time to become used to the price structure of a retirement community. Some communities use an “a la carte” pricing structure in which residents pay both rent and a fee for each service they use. In contrast, the monthly fee at certain all-inclusive retirement communities already includes a number of standard amenities.
In spite of the fact that both the all-inclusive and à la carte models have their advantages, the all-inclusive model is the more cost-effective choice for families. Find out why the all-inclusive pricing model may be the best option for your aging loved ones by learning about the two primary types of senior living fee structures.
Senior Living Services
It is helpful to have a general idea of what is included in a retirement community’s monthly fee before attempting to negotiate the community’s price structure.
Retirement communities provide a wide range of services, including housing, food, housekeeping, laundry, transportation to local stores and doctors’ offices, social and recreational events, fitness and wellness programs, and concierge assistance.
For those who do not require constant skilled nursing care, assisted living programs in retirement communities also offer support with the instrumental activities of daily living such as shopping, housekeeping, medication management, and others, as well as the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and others, and basic medical needs.
Costs, services, and payment systems for retirement communities might vary widely. A la carte communities, also called the fee-for-service model, provide apartments for a base amount and then charge additional fees for required services. At an all-inclusive community, your monthly fees cover a lot more than just rent.
Still confused? Let us take a closer look at the various pricing options.
A la Carte Price Structure
A la carte pricing is used by retirement communities, where residents pay a set monthly rate for either housing only or housing and food. Then, they will have to pay more for each service that they need. A monthly fee or hourly rate may be charged by the community for medication management, daily dressing assistance, and others.
Fee-for-service pricing allows you to pay for only the assistance you really use. Your loved one can save money if they can take care of themselves in the kitchen and around the house, and if they can drive themselves to appointments.
If your family member needs additional care, though, the cost could rise quickly. The costs may be manageable for one month, but the next you may require greater medical attention following a fall or visit to the emergency room.
All-Inclusive Price Structure
The all-inclusive price structure is the most standard in senior living, where a single monthly cost covers all services. Rent, certain utilities, meals, and additional services like cleaning, laundry, personal care, recreational activities, transportation, and more are rolled into one simple monthly fee.
The benefit of this pricing structure is that it remains fixed regardless of how your loved one’s retirement needs evolve over time. Your loved one’s monthly payment will not go up, even if they have a health crisis and need more care. As the monthly costs are standard, this arrangement is much less complicated.