How to Choose an Assisted Living Facility

Deciding to start looking for an assisted living facility can be challenging for many seniors and their families. There are a lot of moving parts to consider, and there can often be some internal pushback when making this important decision.

It often falls to the women in the family to make decisions regarding care, and there are a lot of things to look for when choosing the assisted living facility that’s right for your loved one. Here are some helpful tips about what to look for when looking for assisted living.

Define the Care You Need

Assisted living isn’t for everyone, and there’s no cookie cutter approach to what seniors need during their time at a facility. Some seniors may be quite independent, requiring no more than someone nearby in the event of a fall or health issue. Others may require a more monitored approach, depending on the situation.

It’s also important to consider the future. Someone with a progressive disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s may not require much assistance now but could require advanced care at some point.

Using a third party service like the Seniorly assisted living marketplace can help narrow down the options based on the care you require now and may require down the road. Additionally, this free service can facilitate tours and negotiations to find the best care possible based on specialized health needs.

Location Matters

Once the needs have been identified, the location is the next important consideration. The sooner you can put your name in for a location that’s convenient for all involved, the better. By being proactive when choosing a location, you’ll reduce the risk of having to choose a place that’s inconvenient for visiting.

The feeling of being an elder orphan is a valid concern for many aging individuals who are entering an assisted living facility. For those that don’t have a family for support, moving far away from friends and support networks can be detrimental to their mental health and well-being. For those who do have a family, the fear of being out of sight and out of mind can cause extra stress.

Know the Fees and What’s Included

Assisted living facilities are often a significant investment. Thus, it’s important to read the small print and understand what’s included in the fee, and if there are any extra fees that aren’t readily apparent.

In addition to understanding the fees and coverage, it’s important to consider the extras when looking at the fine print. How are people vetted for positions within the assisted living facility? What kind of specialists are on staff? Are background checks mandatory and kept up to date? What’s the training protocol for staff, especially in regards to any special needs (like progressive diseases)?

Rights and Requirements

It’s important to understand the rights and responsibilities of the tenant entering the assisted living facility as well. Some facilities allow tenants to come and go as they please, while others do not. Additionally, the facility might have rules and regulations about how tenants conduct themselves or if there’s a limit to the services they offer. Again, this is another important consideration when progressive illnesses are apparent.

Always Tour the Premises

It’s important to always conduct a tour of the premises before agreeing to anything. There are a few key things to watch for when touring a facility, including:

  • Cleanliness – is there any apparent dirt or grime that looks like it hasn’t been seen to?
  • Maintenance – does the place look well maintained or rundown?
  • Safety – does the facility look like it was designed with safety in mind and meets regulation?
  • Staff demeanor – Everyone has bad days, but is there a general sense of tiredness and discontentment or do the staff seem happy and engaged?
  • Tenant demeanor – do residents of the facility seem well-tended to and active or disconnected?

Visiting the facility gives you the opportunity to meet the people involved in care efforts and determine if the advertised space matches reality. Remember to talk to references and read reviews about the facility, and always use your best judgment when making a final decision for your aging loved one.