Assisted Living

8/18/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff

You’ve decided you’ve reached the point where you don’t feel safe living alone anymore. You’re not as steady on your feet as you once were, and may be afraid of falling. You may no longer be able to prepare your own meals.

And it’s time to research assisted living communities.

There are several factors to consider – but for many seniors, the cost of the facility is the biggest deciding factor.

Though the initial cost may seem daunting, most facilities do not force their residents into a “one price fits all” price tag. Instead, they have a variety of price points – depending on the level of care that you may need, and the various amenities that you desire.

Some assisted living facilities do offer an all-inclusive monthly fee, while others provide a tiered pricing depending on the type of service and care required. Others offer prices based on individual services. In general, there are many ways to save money on assisted living.

Level of Care

Assisted living facilities offer from one to three levels of care.

Level one: a low level of care. The resident is able to live pretty much independently but will need occasional assistance – such as a reminder to take one’s medication.

Level two: a moderate level of care. Perhaps the resident needs help dressing, as well as reminders to take medication or to eat.

Level three: a high level of care. The resident needs much monitoring and assistance. However, the care needed is not the same level of care of that that is needed in a nursing home.


A private room or apartment will be more expensive than one which you share with someone else. Larger rooms will be more expensive than smaller rooms.

Not all facilities offer private or semi-private rooms. To save money on assisted living, consider sharing your living space with someone else.

Basic Services: Services You Receive for Your Monthly Fee

Every assisted living facility charges a monthly fee to its residents. As part of that fee (which is not regulated by the state), the facility must supply certain basic services – which are required by state regulation. So, there is a basic monthly fee…and then depending on how many amenities the resident would like access to, the monthly fee will go up.

All of this price information is provided in a Resident’s Agreement: a legal document that states what the facility must supply to the resident, and at what cost.

For your monthly fee, these basic services must be provided:

  1. Three meals a day, and snacks, served seven days a week, in a common dining area. The facility must meet any dietary requirements you may have. (Note that in some facilities, this is included; in others you can choose from two to three meals per day, or none at all. Ask!)
  2. A laundry service must be provided to all residents. However, the amount of the laundry may be limited depending on the Resident’s Agreement.
  3. Assisted living facilities do not have to offer medical care to residents, but they must make sure that a resident has access to appropriate health care or social service resources – typically making any required appointments.
  4. The facility must also provide social activities for its residents within the facility itself.

When you speak with a representative from each assisted living community, make sure you ask for prices that cover the basic cost of services, and the optional services which can add to your monthly fee.

Optional Services

There are common services that may drive up the cost of your monthly fee:

  1. Private phone service via a landline.
  2. A television in one’s room may be an extra fee, as will cable service.
  3. Haircuts, perms, and manicures.
  4. Transportation: rides to and from medical appointments usually has a charge. Transportation to grocery stores may also have a fee.
  5. Wireless internet may be offered for free, but there may be a charge for it.

It takes time and a lot of research to find the best assisted living facility for you, and to find the best price point as well.

As an aside, you can always check with your local Medicare/Medicaid service, and even Social Security, to see if they will help defer costs of your stay in such a facility. Some states do offer this, as well as other financial assistance programs.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff