A Place For Mom and Others of It’s Ilk

Cliché’s exist because they are more often than not, true. “You get what you pay for” is one that time and again proves true in the elder law world. It’s not that great services or products must be the most expensive, but it’s important to do your homework and understand why something might be free or low cost.

I think anyone that listens to radio has heard the “A Place for Mom” (APFM) commercial by this point. This is a business that purports to help you find long term care placement (there are other similar businesses including such as seniorsforliving.com and allseniorhomes.com but for simplicity’s sake, I refer only to APFM). So far, none of these businesses charge the consumer. But these are for-profit businesses, so the money is coming from somewhere, right?

Naturally, the money is coming from the long-term care facility. There’s no harm in this, in and of itself—the harm comes from what you don’t know and what they don’t tell you, and at it’s root, the problem is where the money comes from.

  1. The money comes from the participating facilities so you will never get a referral to a facility that does not participate with APFM. It is not a reflection on a particular facility if they participate or don’t participate, so don’t assume you are only getting referred excellent facilities; you are getting referred to a place that chose to pay APFM for referrals.
  2. The employees at APFM are not experts in senior living, geriatric care, Medicaid or any of the other dozens of factors that affect a long term care decision. They have not visited the facilities and they do not know you or anything about you and your care needs. They can and will refer you to a facility that is not a good fit for you and your family. For example, any place you will be referred to does not accept Medicaid—so if you might run out of money or your health deteriorates, you are going to have to move!
  3. Along those lines, APFM does not work with skilled nursing homes. They only work with independent living and assisted living/personal care. If someone needs skilled nursing, you will not get that referral and I have had cases in which people with those needs were still referred to assisted living/personal care. Those people moved in and promptly needed to find a new place to live because the situation was not sustainable.

So what’s the alternative?

I know there’s a huge need for a referral service because you don’t know what you don’t know.

  1. Look for a geriatric care company in the appropriate area where you are looking for care. These people know the local facilities, they know the people that work there, and they know what places will be a good fit and which ones will not. These are companies you pay yourself, but you are getting an unbiased referral and recommendation because now YOU are the customer/client, not the long-term care facility. And many times the fee is fairly negligible because you are just getting a short list of places to check out, not necessarily hiring the company to assist you through the whole application and admission process (although that is also something with which they can assist)
  2. Call our office! I also know just about all of the facilities in my local region, what forms of payment you need, how much they cost, how much money they require you to have, type of care they offer, and reputation. And I definitely don’t charge a thing to give you a short list of places to check out.

I talk more in depth about the most common long term care options in my FREE workshop. If you have questions about the different long term care options, what kind of care they offer and how to pay for it, sign up for the October workshop.