10 Cost Questions You Can’t Forget to Ask | Understanding the costs of senior living communities

A version of this article originally appeared in Angie’s List Expert Articles.

Touring senior living communities? Trying to decide which is best for you or a loved one? You’ve probably done your homework ahead of time by viewing the community’s website, preparing your list of questions to ask, and reading the advice of do’s and don’ts during your search process. But are you prepared to ask some detailed questions about the dollars?

Money and costs are often the primary source of confusion, anxiety, and stress in the journey of finding the ideal senior community. Many individuals are concerned they have enough money, unsure of how to ask about costs, and confused about potential hidden, unknown, or unexplained fees.

As an established senior living community that’s been around for over 100 years, we’re here to remind you of one major sentiment: don’t be afraid to ask.

Q & AOnce you’ve zeroed in on a community you’re seriously considering, you should have no reservations about letting the questions flow. Fully understanding the community will provide peace of mind about your move. Your sales consultant will be happy to answer and explain these items to you, so do yourself a favor and refer to our trusty list of 10 cost-related questions to ask before you make a move:

  1. Will the community do a financial screening to assess my fiscal portfolio and be sure I’m monetarily qualified to move in? When in the process is this done and how soon can I expect a conclusion regarding my eligibility?
  2. How does your waiting list deposit work? Is it refundable if I change my mind, what is it applied to once I move in, and are there recurring fees to stay on the waiting list after a certain amount of time?
  3. What are all the details about your entrance fee? When must it be paid, are there options for higher or lower fees based on my savings portfolio, and is any part of it refundable?
  4. Are there any dining expense requirements? What can I expect a typical meal to cost if I choose to partake?
  5. Based on the unit I’m interested in, what will the total monthly rent be?
  6. What does my monthly rent include? Utilities, cable, phone, electric, housekeeping, meals?
  7. What does my monthly rent not include? What are all of the possible optional “extras” that could increase my monthly bill? Barber/beauty shop, restaurant meals, room service, extra housekeeping or maintenance services? What about an extra person fee or special view fee? (i.e. if the unit overlooks a river / mountain / lake?)
  8. What happens if I outlive my financial resources?
  9. What happens if I sign the contract with one rate/level/package and need to change it in the future?
  10. Do you offer an auto-pay option? What other options do I have in how I’ll pay my monthly bill?

Congratulations to you for taking ownership and becoming a well-informed consumer by knowing smart questions to ask! Now go on and make that phone call.


Have an extra tip to share? What have you experienced as you learn about cost of senior communities? Leave a reply below!

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