Families upset as cost of elderly care rises at WNY facility

Posted at 11:14 PM, May 04, 2017

A popular Western New York nursing and retirement home provider is facing criticism for significantly raising its prices.

Some residents will be expected to pay an increase of over $2,000.

According to Elderwood, it comes down to how much care the resident needs and how many prescriptions they are given per day.

7 Eyewitness News spoke with a family who says these increases are a burden for those paying the bills of their loved ones.

“We just may have to dip into our savings or ask for help from other family members,” said Michael Rokitka.

Rokitka has no idea how his father is going to afford the price hike at his Elderwood assisted living facility.

“It’s really unfortunate and essentially comes down to corporate greed,” said Rokitka.

The Rokitka’s received a letter on April 27 letting them know that Michael’s father, who has been living at Elderwood in West Seneca for the last year, would need to pay more money to stay by June 1.

“I was flabbergasted. $500 a month on top of already paying $4,000 a month and these are for services he’s already being provided,” said Rokitka.

According to the letter, Elderwood is restructuring its prices and is charging for the level of personalized care the residents need.

For Rokitka’s father, that amounts to an extra $500 a month for services they already say he receives.

7 Eyewitness News reached out to the facility and were told over the phone that the price increase is due to restructuring. We then went to Elderwood’s corporate offices in Buffalo to see if they could explain the price hike in person, but a representative was unavailable.

“I would like to see if Elderwood could reevaluate this plan and be more compassionate to their residents and our family to have another affordable system,” said Rokitka.

The family is now looking for other options for their loved one, trying to figure out how to pay for the steep increase in price for care.

Late Thursday night, Elderwood released the following statement:

"Elderwood has introduced a "level of care" pricing methodology for two reasons: 1) to provide pricing transparency to our residents and 2) to better tailor service charges to services utilized. Along with this new pricing methodology some of our prices may increase to reflect increased costs and increased utilization of services. We are confident that our rates and charges are fair, reasonable, and very competitive in the market place."