How I Helped My Dad Choose Assisted Living

DadMePortraitMy dad, Rev. William “Tex” Rickard was a United Methodist pastor, an athlete, a jokester, father to six amazing children and an all-around great guy. He could watch a ball game with you or listen to your deepest fears. He helped me — a single mom — raise my two beautiful girls and our crazy dog, Chloe.

My dad took very good care of himself for his whole life, so we were unprepared when he had emergency back surgery at the age of 88 years.

This was tough for me, but even more so for him. After all, as a proud, strong minister, he took care of other people. He didn’t need people to care for him. After so many years of independence, we decided the best plan was to move him into an assisted living facility.

We approached the move directly by taking time to do a few things: 

  1. Tour the local facilities.
  2. Make a list of costs and services.
  3. Talk to staff to find out how they interact with residents.
  4. Eat at the facility to see how the food was and to get a sense of community at meal times.

We learned a lot during a journey. We made some good choices along the way and also some mistakes. Our most important lesson was that communication is the key.

When preparing to move a loved one to an assisted living facility, you and your loved one have to be prepared to communicate with your family and the facility about your priorities. There is no one right answer. You have to decide what will work best for your loved one.

To help guide your decision about assisted living, I have written Easy Healthcare: Choosing an Assisted Living Facility, available in book and ebook format. It tells you what conversations to have, what to consider as you research facilities and how to make the experience as smooth as possible for you and your loved one.

How to Get Your Medical Records

Did you know that you own your medical records? In this video, I explain what information you can get from your doctor and how to obtain access to your private medical chart.


Trying to figure out health insurance? Get my book Choose Your Best Health Insurance for detailed assistance on how to decide which insurance plan is right for you and your family.

How Much Health Insurance Costs

Health insurance costs are important to many people because, after all, you have to fit it in your budget. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a clear dollar amount due to the range of plans — and therefore, prices — offered. Here is what I can tell you.

Insurance costs vary.

Costs are determined by your current health, age and income. If you are young and healthy, you will pay less than someone who is middle aged and has some health issues.

Check the premium costs vs. out-of-pocket costs.

It is important to not only look at the cost of the insurance premiums each month but also the overall costs of care. A $250 per month premium may sound expensive; it totals $3,000 per year. However, if you get sick or break a bone, your out-of-pocket costs associated with the plan or cash fees and penalties for not having insurance could exceed $3,000 cost with one hospital visit.

Compare prices.

The Affordable Care Act made it possible to compare the costs of the various health insurance plans being offered. Prior to the health exchanges, there was no easy way to know what the insurance plans cost and what was included. You had to be a PhD in healthcare in order to compare the various plans. Now, all the plans have to include the same basic services, and the prices for the various plans are listed on the health exchange.

Although, I can’t quote you an exact dollar amount, this information should make it easier for you to assess insurance costs to determine which plan is right for you and your family.


Trying to figure out health insurance? Get my book Choose Your Best Health Insurance for detailed assistance on how to decide which insurance plan is right for you and your family.