While searching for assisted living in Orange County, you will probably find two or three facilities that fit the bill. Once you have created a short list of your ideal choices, it is important to take a thorough look at the contracts that you will have to sign with each of the care facilities. Before you sign any assisted living contract, keep the following tips in mind.
1. Understand What Is Included
We recommend that family members first take a look at all of the services provided by the facility as laid out in the contract. Typically, the main items that always will be included are the actual assisted living apartment and meals. Generally, this includes three meals per day and snacks.
Beyond that, services might be included in the monthly fees or perhaps provided for an additional fee. It is important to be very clear on exactly what is included in the monthly fee. Often when you head out on a tour, the facility staff member will explain many different services that the staff can provide. You might mistakenly believe that all of these services are included in the monthly costs, but this is not always the case.
For instance, the fees might include your room, meals, weekly housekeeping and weekly laundry services. However, laundry might be offered as an extra service for an additional fee. It all depends on the facility. Some facilities include services such as grooming, bathing and toileting help in the standard monthly fees while other facilities offer this as an a la carte offering. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it can help you cut costs if you opt to not use some of these extra services. It’s simply important to understand exactly what is included and what services are offered at an extra cost.
2. Understand The Termination Clauses
While you may have found the ideal facility for your loved one, it is possible that the facility for assisted living in Orange County might not end up being a perfect fit. Likewise, circumstances might occur that force your loved one to leave the facility and move into a skilled nursing facility or even hospice care. It also is possible that your loved one also might pass away prior to the end of the lease.
Of course, none of these situations might happen, but you do need to understand the termination fees of each facility. Typically, an assisted living contract will have a section dedicated to termination fees. Be sure to read and fully understand what the fees will be for a variety of situations.
3. Get A Professional Opinion
Prior to moving into assisted living, it is a great idea to meet with an attorney to discuss your estate and your care needs. Provide your attorney with a copy of the assisted living contract as well, so he or she can give it a look and then explain anything to you that seems confusing. This can clear up any confusion and provide you with some peace of mind.
4. Understand The Rules Of The Facility
In any type of rental situation, there will be rules and regulations set down by the management company. An assisted living facility in Orange is no exception. There might be rules regarding everything from visiting hours to having pets in the resident apartments. Be sure that you understand all of the rules before you move in; otherwise, you could end up facing an eviction notice.
5. Lease Renewals Could Mean Higher Fees
If you’ve ever rented an apartment or leased a house, you know that landlords can raise the rental fees when you renew your lease. The same is true at a facility for assisted living in Orange. When you renew the lease, be sure to read the document as carefully as you did during that initial signing. Check to see if the monthly fees have risen or if included services are now a separate charge and check to see if termination requirements or rules have changed.
Sometimes when you first sign up as a resident, you can negotiate with the management team and ask that the lease renew at current rates for the second year or perhaps even the first two or three years. No matter what you negotiate with the management, be sure to get all of it in writing and keep a copy with your attorney or with a trusted advocate or family member.
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