Why do the Prices Vary between Senior Care Centers?

by Senior Care Staff on April 15, 2009

When looking at various senior care centers, most consumers do not understand why the prices can vary significantly at facilities that seem to offer the same services. A common misconception is that the cheaper ones must provide inferior care, and the simple fact of the matter is that there are a number of reasons for the price differences and none of them indicate which facility may or may not be the better choice. Before selecting a senior care center based on price, it is necessary to understand how the facilities arrive at their pricing structure.

Few people realize that senior care centers can be owned by private individuals and organizations or they can be managed by a government entity or public organization. For example, many of the senior day care centers are actually operated by local government agencies and divisions of health and human services. There are many government subsidies available to these types of organizations and the majority of these are designed as non-profit foundations. If a senior care center is operating as a non-profit entity, the cost is likely to be less as there are no shareholders or business owners looking to make a profit off of the endeavor. Cheaper senior care centers, therefore, don’t necessarily mean that the quality of care received is any less than the more expensive ones.

The services offered at each facility may seem to be virtually the same, but it is important to realize that some senior care centers specialize in certain fields. Facilities that are well-equipped to handle patients with severe Alzheimer’s or dementia may offer the same activities, but the staff must obviously be more skilled and receive additional training. Some senior care centers specialize in providing care to individuals with specific disabilities or illnesses. If a family member does not require any of this type of care, it may be advisable to look for a senior care center that does not train all of their staff in these areas. Higher expenses can sometimes be required at facilities that provide advanced training to their caregivers.

There are subsidies that are available to certain senior citizens and programs that can assist with the cost of attending a senior care center. While most of these are dependent on income and assets, there are other programs as well that could help with the costs. Some facilities may help an elderly individual apply and receive these types of assistance programs and as a result could charge a much lower price.

The activities that are available at senior care centers can often drive up the price. Some facilities may charge extra for certain activities or outings that may be offered, but others include all of the extracurricular charges in their normal fees. It is important for consumers to understand what exactly is included in the price. In fact, many facilities may actually include the cost of food and various other items in their price which can make their senior care center seem more expensive than others.

Every family member wants their loved one to receive the best care possible, but paying for a more expensive senior care center does not necessarily mean they will be treated any differently than at a cheaper facility. It is imperative that consumers understand how the pricing works and what is included or excluded from the base amount. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a senior care center by its price either without taking a little bit of extra time to examine what is offered and what may not be.

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