What Items in an Assisted Living Contract Should You look at Carefully Before Signing? Answers from an Elder Lawyer

Elderly woman and a younger woman work on a jigsaw puzzle.

Making the decision to move from your long-time home into an assisted living facility is something that few take lightly, but once the decision is made, most people then spend a good deal of time researching the various residences that are available to them. It is important to know what you are looking for in this type of residence, and to compare different properties, their prices, and the accommodations that they offer, but once you’ve found a place that is appealing you still have important considerations. The facility that you choose will have a slew of documents that they need you to sign, and it’s essential that you understand all of the contracts before you put pen to paper. The elder lawyers at Bratton Scott are compassionate attorneys with extensive experience in reviewing assisted living contracts, as well as in helping with all of the other legal services that are needed while planning for your future.

The Assisted Living Contract is a residential agreement that will spell out in detail all of the terms that the provider and you are agreeing to, including costs, the services that they provide, how discharge and grievances are to be addressed, and your rights and obligations as a resident or responsible party. Many people make the mistake of signing these contracts without reviewing them, then find later that they have agreed to something to which they object. These contracts are binding but their terms are not always written in stone. In many cases applicants can make reasonable changes in order to accommodate a specific need or preference, but it is best to address issues before signing, when you still have time to come to an agreement or look for a more suitable option.

There are a number of items that you should look at carefully before signing an assisted living contract. One problem that arises frequently is that items that may have been advertised in a brochure or mentioned while on a tour may not be listed in your contract. If an item is not listed within the residential agreement and it is important to you, then you need to have it included. Other specifics that you should look at carefully include:

  • The basic services that are provided
  • The specific level of care for which you are contracting and what the costs are
  • Non-service related charges
  • Extra services that are available and their charges
  • What services are not provided
  • Whether medical or health care are available
  • Which Activities of Daily Living are included in your costs and which are available at extra charges
  • What happens if your level of care needs change
  • What are the varying levels of service that the provider is licensed to provide
  • How can fees change
  • What happens if you are no longer able to pay
  • What happens in a health emergency
  • What rules you are required to adhere to
  • How grievances are addressed
  • Who is the responsible party

These are just a few of the issues that need to be carefully reviewed, and failure to do often leads to problems in the future. The elder law attorneys at Bratton Scott are well-acquainted with the intricacies of Assisted Living Contracts, and can review them for you and your family in order to make certain that there are no questions or issues that need to be resolved. A quick call to our office will get you a convenient appointment to address these as well as many other questions.

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