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What Does Your Monthly Fee Include?

Cathy Gordon, February 19, 2013

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Retirement communities charge monthly fees.  These costs vary as the quantity of services and accommodations vary. Your monthly fee covers more than just the cost of leasing your residence. Exactly what it covers will depend on the community. Here is a list of some of the items your monthly fee commonly covers.

Community Dining Room

Almost every community has a common dining room where the residents can dine and have meals prepared for them. Some communities require a fee for three meals a day whether you actually attend or not. Others offer flexible plans allowing you to pay for just one or two meals a day, and you may be able to simply show up, or you may have to specify in advance which meals you plan to attend. Perhaps breakfast is served early, and you enjoy sleeping in, so that's one less meal you decide to include in your meal plan. Other communities have a meal card system. You pay to fill up your card with a certain amount of cash (with pricing of breakfast, lunch, and dinner being different) and refill it as needed.

Activities

A portion of your fees will go towards supporting activities the community offers such as exercise classes or live entertainment. Your fees may not cover every activity organized by the community, especially if it is an outing to a special event.

Maintenance, Transportation, and Utilities

Your fees also go towards general maintenance of buildings and grounds. Fees are usually levied to help pay workers to mow lawns and do repairs. The cost of utilities are included in your fees, as are regular transportation services like shuttle buses. The fees will also usually help cover the cost of emergency response equipment and staff (such as fall monitors and emergency call systems).

Other Amenities

Most communities have common areas where people congregate, and they provide snacks, tea, coffee, and juice to all residents. Newspapers and magazines may also be provided. Laundry services, and housekeeping (where available) are also both often factored into your fees.

When considering a community, ask to see how they break down their fees. You may be able to opt out of services you feel you may not benefit from and save some money. However, many communities offer lots of great activities and amenities that you will want to experience to the fullest.

Written by Cathy Gordon

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