Most assisted living facilities offer primarily independent living set-ups with the option for additional assistance/services such as, medication reminders or possibly assisting someone with a shower. Some facilities often have a floor or two that handles residents whose needs are much greater. These residents may need services that are more personal and frequent. They may need a nurse to give them medications several times during the day, help them get dressed or help them use the bathroom throughout the day.
Some facilities have a per service cost plan. This means there are a list of services with a fee. Whatever services you need that is the cost you pay. For example if someone needs help with showers twice a week that might cost $120.00 a month. If mom or dad needs someone to give them their medications during the day then there is a specific cost for that service.
Another format used for pricing at many assisted living facilities is based on a care level. So there might be 4-5 levels and based on how much time will need to be spent caring for someone and how many services they have they will fall under one level or another. Each level will have one set price. You may move between levels while you are living at a facility. An example of one level to another might be taking 6 medications 3 times a day versus taking 12 medications 4 times a day. The latter moving you into a higher level.
Make sure that when you interview a facility you ask what their fee structure is for services. They should be able to give you that information and the pricing of it as well. Most facilities will tell you that they need to do an assessment of the person first and that it will take a month or so living in their place to get the needs sorted out. Certainly this makes sense but make sure that you have the current fees before you sign a lease. Fees for these services are in addition to the basic apartment fee to live there. It is also important to ask about fees for phone, cable and internet. Some places pay for some but not all of these and you may need to set-up your own services which will be an additional cost.