Not all senior living facilities are created equal, and on top of that, there may be things that you don’t know about how facilities are run that can affect the care your loved one gets. This is truly a case in which what you don’t know can hurt you. Here are some things to be cautious of when it comes to senior living facilities:

Pharmacy costs. Pharmacies associated with senior living facilities typically charge more for prescription drugs than private pharmacists would. Therefore, you should make it a point to rely only on the services of a private pharmacist that is local to the facility.

Special needs. If your loved one has a serious health problem that requires a considerable amount of personal care, then it is likely that the average senior living facility is simply not equipped to provide that care. That’s right—you may have to hire outside care to meet your loved one’s special needs. Be sure to ask the facilities you are considering exactly how much one-on-one care they provide to each resident, and be prepared to make other plans for needs that fall outside of those limitations.

Changing prices.  Assisted living facilities have the option of changing their prices at any time, and without giving you much notice. Of course, this is never to benefit the paying customer, so you will have to consider the possibility of higher rates down the line when weighing out your senior living facility options.

Staff may be insufficiently trained. This is especially true if your loved one has special needs. The senior living industry experienced a boom in the 1990s, leaving businesses to rapidly expand to meet that need. Consequently, senior living facilities were staffed with mostly unskilled employees. Most of the employees who will be providing care to your loved one in a senior living facility are personal aides who work for minimum wage. It is easy to see how this level of care might not suffice for seniors who need special attention.