About 22.1 million adults ages 55 years and older live alone. As our loved ones get older, however, their risk of a slip and fall or other incident increases. We’re not always available to provide the help and support they need.
Before an accident occurs, you might want to select a senior living community for your own loved one this year.
Not sure how to choose the best senior living community in the area? Here are a few tips that can help you narrow down your choices. With these tips, you can feel confident in your final selection.
You can find a high-quality senior living community with your loved one’s needs and future in mind. Read on to discover how to vet your options with these senior living community tips today.
1. Consider Community Types
The life expectancy for adults in the US is 78.8 years. As they get older, our loved ones have different needs and expectations. Take the time to outline your loved one’s needs.
Considering their distinct needs will help you find a community that provides everything they require. Otherwise, the community you choose might not meet their standard of living.
Ask your loved one about their needs and priorities. For example, you might want to consider:
- Meals and dietary restrictions
- Health care management
- Medical assistance
- Social services
- Wellness and exercise programs
- Housekeeping and laundry
Imagine your loved one’s daily routine. When do they need help? For example, your loved one might require help getting out of bed.
They might need help showering, cooking, or completing household chores, too.
Once you determine your loved one’s needs, you can look into the different types of communities in your area.
For example, they might prefer to live in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). CCRCs are like small towns. They provide a continuum of care to help residents transition into an assisted living center.
CCRCs are usually long-term.
Assisted living communities, on the other hand, allow residents to live in small apartments. Residents are mobile but still require assistance for medication, meals, and personal care.
Assisted living communities don’t provide the skilled daily medical care residents would receive at a nursing home. Instead, these communities coordinate with outside providers to provide medical assistance. The overall medical care is instead the family’s responsibility.
2. Prioritize Comfort
If you want to find the best senior living community for your loved one, prioritize their comfort. Think about what they need to remain comfortable long-term. For example, you might want to consider factors like:
- Floor plan
- Apartment size
- Dining/dietary options
Think about the residents who live in the senior living communities you’re reviewing, too. You might want to choose a center with residents who are older if your loved one is older.
Make sure to check the community’s activity list. For example, does the community offer stimulating activities? Will they help your loved one make friends or find social support?
Determine if there are any restrictions you’ll need to consider, too. For example, perhaps the community doesn’t allow pets. Maybe they make restrictions based on size or type.
Some communities only allow guide dogs for the visually impaired.
Choose a community that aligns with your loved one’s needs, preferences, and comfort.
3. Budget for the Future
Before you choose a senior living community, take a moment to consider your budget.
Don’t forget to consider your loved one’s medical needs first. For example, your loved one might need early-stage Alzheimer’s care. Perhaps they have a mild cognitive impairment that requires additional support instead.
Your loved one might need to transition into a more specialized memory care center later on as a result. These centers can minimize disruption for your loved one. However, it’s likely you’ll need to pay for more expensive care levels, too.
If your loved one has a degenerative, chronic condition, consider how that can impact your budget.
Shop around and determine what type of facility you can afford as you use these senior living community tips. Determine if the facility offers financial planning, too.
4. Schedule a Visit
As you begin narrowing down your options, consider scheduling visits at a few facilities. Try to plan two visits (one during the day and one in the evening). If you can, meet with a staff member who holds a leadership position.
Make a list of questions you want to ask during your visit.
Pay attention to the condition of the facility. Make sure it’s well-maintained. Consider interactions between the staff and residents, too.
Scheduling multiple tours will help you gather more information than you can find online.
5. Compare Agreements
Make sure to gather agreements from two or three of the facilities you tour as well. Then, determine what’s included and what isn’t. Note the staff-to-resident ratio as well.
Determine how the facility plans on taking care of residents as they become sicker or older, too.
Ask if there are additional costs if a resident leaves early. Determine what the conditions are before asking about time frames and refunds, too.
6. Consider Inclusions
While reviewing the agreement for each senior living community, make sure to consider what’s included with the costs. For example, you’ll need to determine if medication management, housekeeping, and laundry are included.
Ask if the community supplements direct care with other services like personal emergency alerts. Are those costs included as well?
Ask questions and negotiate to ensure the facility meets your budget. Discuss arranging payments and get everything in writing as well.
7. Check Credentials
Before choosing the best senior living community on your list, check the credentials for each facility. You can consult your local AAA to get started. Make sure all state licensures are in order, too.
Don’t choose a facility that has any citations, fines, or violations.
Start Your Search: 7 Tips for Finding the Best Senior Living Community
Choosing the best senior living community for your loved one shouldn’t feel stressful. Instead, use these seven tips to narrow down your choices. With these tips, you can make a more informed choice to ensure your loved one’s care and comfort.
You don’t have to search for a senior living facility alone. We can help.
Discover care tailored to you.
Find a community today to get started.