Signing an Assisted Living Contract: What You Need to Know

Making a major decision to move to an assisted living community can be stressful. Therefore, it is essential to have all the answers before signing the assisted living contract.

1. Levels of care.

Be certain you understand what type of care is included in each level and the price associated with the levels. Is an assessment conducted to determine the appropriate level of care? Who conducts the assessment? Will I be informed when an additional level of care is necessary? If my loved one is off campus for an extended period of time, i.e. receiving rehab, will the level of care be removed from the bill during that time?

2. Pricing and Additional Fees.

You do not want to be surprised with additional fees when the monthly invoice arrives in the mail. Therefore, familiarize yourself with the pricing structure and ask questions. What is included in the monthly price? Is housekeeping and laundry included or is it extra? Is medication management a separate fee? Some assisted living communities charge a fee, based on the number of medications. Ask about all the amenities, such as local and long distance phone service, Internet access, transportation, etc., so you know exactly what is included.

3. The Lease Contract.

Ask to review the lease in advance. If you have questions, they should be addressed prior to moving in. Most often, the term of a lease is one year. You will want to know when the rent is due and how to make the payment. Be sure to ask what happens if a resident elects to terminate the lease; is there a penalty and how much notice must be given? What happens if a resident passes away? The assisted living contract is a legal document and therefore, it is imperative that it be explained and understood.