There is no mystery around the fact that covering costs associated with assisted living and memory care facilities requires astute financial planning. The sooner you begin planning for these costs, the better.
Read, How To Find Affordable Memory Care & Assisted Living, for more information on assessing the total costs (first-time and long-term) of your prospective location(s).
Understanding Deposits For Memory Care
One of the most immediate payments you’ll make is the deposit fee for the memory care center you’ve selected. These fees exist for a variety of reasons. First, and foremost, they indicate an expression of more serious intention and your commitment to a chosen facility.
As with any business, especially a residential facility, a fair amount of time goes into hosting tours, meeting with prospective families, preparing rooms, etc.
That also includes communicating with and maintaining relationships with individuals, couples or families who are intent on becoming future residents there or who are helping to transition loved ones into assisted living.
Your deposit not only indicates your level of commitment, but it also protects waiting lists from becoming overly burdened by names and contacts who are only vaguely interested and helps navigate the flow of a waiting list.
Early planning minimizes the amount you’ll spend on deposits
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to begin touring prospective memory care and assisted living options as early as possible.
By doing so, you won’t feel under pressure to make a rushed or lesser-informed decision. Your proactive selection and decision-making process also prevent you from finding yourself in crisis mode, needing to find something immediately and having to pass up ideal locations for facilities that are not up to par.
In terms of paying deposits, your early touring, interviewing and selection of one desired location means you’ll only have to pay a single deposit. This is optimal compared with individuals or couples forced to make rushed and desperate decisions, and wind up investing substantial sums in multiple deposits so they can jump at the first place that opens up.
Don’t assume all deposits are refundable
There are no boilerplate protocols for how assisted living and memory care centers handle deposits. It’s imperative that you ask for all of the large and small print information pertaining to your deposit(s), particularly if you’re making multiple deposits to hold spots in various facilities.
Also, understand that “refundable” may not mean “100% refundable no matter what.” Here at the Memory Center, we require deposits from future clients securing a spot on our waiting list to optimize efficiency on our end. However, our deposits are fully refundable if you choose to get off the list, regardless of the reason why.
Varying deposit/refund policies at other facilities include:
- Deposit is non-refundable. Period.
- Deposits are only partially refundable
- Deposits are only refunded if there is proven, medical or health-related reason you’re removing someone from the list
- Deposits are (fully or partially) refunded after the person passes away or must go into a more acute healthcare facility
- The deposit may or may not hold a specific room or floor plan for you, so ask if this is important and find out what you need to do to hold a specific room/plan.
The bottom line is you should never hand over or sign anything regarding a financial commitment or deposit until you fully understand the policies.
Deposits typically hold steady if you need to wait for the next available space
Again, this fact should be verified with the desired facility.
The large majority of the time, deposits remain intact if you are contacted for an available space but aren’t quite ready to move in. This isn’t uncommon, especially if you were told the wait was about 90-days and you get a call two weeks later.
At The Memory Center, we simply move to the next name on the list and you retain your Number 1 spot on the list until the next availability opens up. This sequence continues until the timing is finally right for you.
Ask about incentives or specials
Sometimes memory care centers offer incentives or specials that waive or reduce a deposit or certain move-in fees. Occasionally they are advertised but often they are not, so it’s worth asking just in case.
Similarly, many higher-end facilities hold a limited number of rooms available for Medicaid patients. While the waiting lists for these rooms tend to be much longer, your pre-planning could pay off, allowing you or a loved one to move into a desirable location with substantially reduced payments.
A poor fit still forfeits the deposit
Unfortunately, deciding that the new place isn’t a good fit, doesn’t have the services your loved one requires or you’ve received a call from your first choice and want to move in there almost always means forfeiting a deposit.
Understand the community’s exit options
In other words, if your loved one passes away, which (if any) fees or deposits are paid back to the estate. There are a variety of ways assisted living and memory care centers handle this delicate subject, and it’s critical that you understand their policy clearly before committing.
The best way to handle it is to have this topic at the ready with your other list of questions that you ask while touring facilities and meeting with various management and staff. While verbal assurances are lovely, always get any information pertaining to finances or policies in writing so you have something to fall back on.
Evaluating Memory Care Deposits
The world of finance seems cold and calculated when you’re diligently trying to seek the best, heartfelt and personalized care for your loved one.
However, making the time to complete your due diligence and understand all of the fine print provides peace of mind when you select the memory care center that’s best and move your loved one into their new home.