The Hidden Costs of Senior Living

The Hidden Costs of Senior Living



When searching for senior living, it’s important to consider potential costs beyond what’s initially quoted. Many communities charge extra for health care, and amenities like parking and package delivery.

“Since every community charges differently for amenities, we recommend that seniors touring assisted living keep a checklist of services that are critical to their day-to-day lifestyle, so they know what to expect cost-wise before they put down a deposit,” said Rose Schnitzer Manor Assisted Living Building Services Director Tammy Heard. “So often we hear from residents about previous living experiences where they were shocked at all of the other costs added to the base monthly fee.”

That was the experience of Ann, who moved to a facility for its close-in parking, access to a full kitchen, and an in-room washer and dryer unit.

“Parking close to the front door was important to me, so I was happy to pay extra for parking,” said Ann. “I was excited to have my own washer and dryer in my unit, but when they needed repair, I had to pay for the maintenance, which I didn’t know ahead of time.” As for the kitchen, Ann said she ended up needing room service more often than not and was unaware that such a service would be extra.

Ann said she wished she’d asked about additional costs, like package delivery, which turned out to be $5 at minimum per package. There were also fees for administrative services like faxes and copying.

“If I was going to move again, I’d find out what incidental costs would be, and ask more questions,” she said.

Pete lived at a new facility in Seattle, with his wife, Jan, and was also struck by the hidden costs.

“The cost at our new place was 15 to 20 percent higher than other communities,” he said. “It was very expensive to rent monthly because it was new.

“And then after two years, it was obvious my wife needed more health assistance, and we had to go to an outside agency to find help on our own because there were no nurses on staff, which we didn’t know about ahead of time.

“The extra fees to pay for health care added up,” added Pete, who said those inquiring about senior living should think carefully about future needs, and what they might cost, as well as current ones.


By Sydney Clevenger, with research from Arlene Layton. For questions, contact Sydney at Cedar Sinai Park: Active assisted living focusing on Jewish values. Welcoming of all Faiths., (503) 535-4000