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Does 'more expensive' equal better nursing care?

When you're searching for an assisted living facility for your loved one, it's natural to equate "more costly" with "better care." Otherwise, why else would the price be so high, right? Your loved one is supposed to be getting more focused care in an assisted living facility than in a nursing home, after all.

Well, don't count on it. The Atlanta Journal Constitution's (AJC) late-2019 investigation into Georgia's elder-care facilities revealed a lot of disturbing information -- including the fact that you don't really get what you pay for when a loved one goes into a pricey assisted living facility. A costly facility is likely to have just as many problems as a less-expensive one.

The investigation by AJC exposed at least 600 incidents of neglect and 90 cases of actual abuse in assisted living communities in the last four years alone. Many incidents go unreported -- and the AJC investigation uncovered what it described as a remarkable "lack of transparency" on the part of both those facilities and the Georgia Department of Community Health. Workers guilty of neglect and abuse are often left in their positions, unpunished -- often because it's simply too troublesome for the facilities to do otherwise.

A lot of assisted living facilities bill themselves as something akin to country clubs for the elderly. Residents (or their families) can be expected to pay $3,000 to $8,000 per month out of their own money. On the surface, these places look fantastic -- but the carefully cultivated marketing materials and the lovely lobbies often hide very ugly conditions.

Never assume that cost can be equated to the quality of care your loved one receives in a nursing home or assisted living facility. If you suspect (or know) that your loved one is a victim of neglect or abuse, get legal help right away.

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