Assistant Living: Four Simple Tips to Avoid Being Tricked

As a senior real estate specialist and from my own experience, I know the importance of picking the right assistant living facility for your beloved family member. I read an article titled “Due Diligence: Helping Clients Avoid Assisted Living “Gotchas”” that went into great detail on how to help avoid any pitfalls that may be awaiting them. Did you know that most regulations for assisted living facilities are determined at the state or local level and that there is very little federal oversight? Below are 4 things that you need to be aware of when choosing the right assisted living facility.

  1. Be Your Own Regulator. Ask if there is a Resident Bill of Rights posted online. Request a copy of the community’s most recent state survey report from the facility. Ask for copies of the company’s most recent quality review program. Ask if there is a resident and family council at the facility to address concern.
  2. Understand the Contract. Before signing anything, you should have the contract reviewed by a lawyer to make sure you understand and know the contractual requirements and potential issues.
    1. Mobility– Check the rules to make sure you understand how easily the residents can move in/out or change levels of care.
    2. Service Fees– There are different “packages” and services that are “a la carte”, as well as all-inclusive packages. It is important to know the differences and know what they do not include that could end up costing you more out of pocket.
    3. Cost of Living/Annual Increases-Some facilities add an annual percentage increase or a flat rate increase each year. Make sure you are aware of this before you commit.
  3. Research the Facility. Find out its reputation.
    1. Complaints Check for any formal complaints that have been filed with state regulatory authorities or other governing bodies.
    2. Legal Actions Do a Google search on any legal action against the facility. You could also visit the local courthouse and do a search there.
    3. Staff Comments Research GlassDoor.com- this website allows current and past employees to anonymously give their opinions on the facility and its management.
    4. Other Concerns Check message boards and do online research for comments, complaints, or unresolved issues.
  4. Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. Don’t let marketing pitches and nice decor blur your vision. What is most important is the level of care your family member is going to get. You want your family member to have the best caregivers and nurses available as well as feel comfortable where they are living.
    1. Management– Meet with the management team and take the “director’s tour” and enjoy the sales team’s offerings. It is a good idea to check the quality of the food and to talk with staff members.
    2. Sales and Marketing-Don’t automatically think that the more expensive facilities are better. Paying more doesn’t always mean they will provide better or extended services.

I hope this information was helpful. If you have a family member that is in need of assistant living and you need help selling their house, please feel free to reach out to me. I pride myself in being a senior specialist and would be more than happy to help you in this tough transitional period.

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About Suzanne O'Brien

The role of a real estate agent is to guide you through the buying and/or selling process and take the time to make sure you understand every step of the transaction. I am absolutely committed to fulfilling your needs with the highest level of professionalism, expertise and service. My commitment to listening and satisfying your needs are the foundation from which a solid business relationship is built. I realize that people do business with people they trust. I am interested in what is best for you, the client, and am committed to establishing a long-term relationship based on trust. In addition, real estate is often times very personal, about family and home and pride myself in developing relationships that now call clients my friends. I pride myself on being knowledgeable and staying current with the fast pace changes in the industry. I approach each clients’ needs individually and am constantly aware of current and upcoming inventory. My creative approach to the business has earned me wonderful associations with both clients and other real estate professionals. I am always working for you…I feel the responsibility to make your dreams a reality…one move at a time.
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