Choosing assisted living for a loved one is never easy, and choosing the right assisted living community can seem overwhelming as you consider a myriad of options. You might be asking yourself questions like:
- What should I look for in an assisted living community?
- How will I know it’s the right place?
- How can I ensure my loved one will be well cared for?
Of course, there’s no simple answer to any of these questions. Each situation is different, and what’s right for someone else may not be right for your loved one. In this article, we are going to walk you through the most common stages of the search process and provide you with corresponding questions to consider along the way.
When Starting Your Search for Assisted Living
According to a recent U.S. News & World Report article, choosing a senior living community is similar to choosing which college you want to attend or which career path you want to pursue. There are many factors to take into account, including cost, location, general atmosphere, program offerings, etc.
When you’re just starting out, you’ll want to cast a wide net to compile all of your potential options. Do some basic research to find the names and locations of senior living communities in your target area. Check out their websites and social media channels to get an idea of their approach to assisted living and what they’re known for.
Questions to Consider
Where is the community located? How close is the community to you if you want to visit? Will your loved one be close to places or experiences they enjoy, like favorite restaurants or Broadway shows?
What does the community’s activities calendar look like? Are there additional opportunities for socialization? What sort of activities and social opportunities does the community provide? Ask if there are residents in the community who share the same interests and hobbies as your loved one – knitting, canasta, photography, etc. How often does the activities calendar change? Does the recreation staff take into account the interests of the residents when planning the schedule?
When Narrowing Down Your Senior Living Options
Once you have a large pool of communities to choose from, it’s time to whittle that list down to only the communities you are seriously considering for your loved one. Make a list of the most important factors, or “must-haves,” that your final choice must satisfy.
This is likely the stage where you will begin interviews – in-person or virtual – with a handful of communities. Many communities offer customized experiences where you can choose what you want to see or explore while you are visiting.
Questions to Consider
What makes sense for my loved one’s financial situation? Similar to when you look for a home or apartment, you don’t want to fall in love with a place that’s way out of your price range. Use resources such as cost comparison guides offered by each community to determine which ones are financially feasible for you. You can also ask staff directly about the different financial options available.
What are current residents saying about their experience here? You will get the most authentic perspective by talking to the residents themselves. Ask the community to arrange for you to meet one-on-one with a resident so you get a real vision of what life could be like for your loved one. You can also check out resident testimonials on the community’s website or social media.
When Making a Final Decision
You’ve done your homework, you’ve visited several communities, and you’ve got your list of top choices – now it’s time to make your final decision.
At this point, you’ll want to weigh all the information you’ve gathered while also taking into account your “gut feeling.” Try to gauge how you and your loved one felt the last time you visited. You want to make sure you’re at peace with the decision and confident in the quality of care your loved one will receive.
Questions to Consider
If your loved one moved in today, how would you feel? Does the thought of leaving your loved one at this community make you feel reassured, or uneasy? Do you feel you can trust this community and its staff to make your loved one feel at home?
How will my loved one pay for assisted living here? Make sure you have thoroughly explored how the cost will be distributed and how much your loved one will be responsible for. Talk with the staff to ensure you’re taking full advantage of any financial assistance that is available to your loved one, such as veterans benefits or long-term care insurance.
Assisted Living at The Bristal
At The Bristal Assisted Living, we make it easy for you to get the answers to all of your assisted living questions, such as “What does assisted living cost?”
The truth is that costs can vary based on location, apartment size, each individual’s care needs, and so on. That’s why we’ve put together a free guide to help you determine what’s affordable and the right fit for you or your loved one.