How to Select an Assisted Living Facility

Assisted Living is well suited to individuals who do not need round the clock nursing help, and are able to live independently knowing that assistance is available when needed. 

For many seniors Assisted Living offers an inviting option to maintaining a home, cooking and cleaning, and other routine daily chores. It is also a welcome alternative to living alone. Following are a few things to think about in your search for an Assisted Living residence.

Finding the right location

One of the first things to consider when searching for the right Assisted Living community is finding the best possible location. You may want to be close enough to family and friends so as not to discourage them from visiting. You may also want to remain a convenient distance from organizations where you are a member or volunteer. And don’t forget to consider your medical team; try to maintain an easy commuting distance by transit or taxi.       

Selecting services

Be sure you understand the fees and service structure of the community that interests you. There are many services as well as packages among Assisted Living communities. Fees are sometimes assessed based upon the size or number of individuals living in the community, or they may be structured based on the needs of the individual. You will find that the costs of service packages vary from one community to the next.

Typical services offered in Assisted Living communities include:

  • Assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living)
  • Medication management
  • Personal care (frequency may vary according to individual needs)
  • Number of daily meals (usually two or more)
  • Transportation (inquire about possible ride restrictions such as - only to medical appointments or only on certain days)
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services (laundry may include only linens, sometimes all laundry)
  • Recreational options
  • Social opportunities and outings

Evaluating the community according to your needs

Your needs should align with what the community offers.

Consider the following:

  • How much physical space do you want and/or need?
  • What type of living arrangement do you want or need? Living areas vary among communities for example you may prefer a single room with shared kitchen, a shared room with shared facilities, or a private room.
  • Do you want a house with roommates or an apartment in a complex of care?
  • What payment options does your desired community offer?
  • What amenities would you like to have nearby? Would you like to be near your Doctors’ offices, your church, your favorite shopping centers or family and friends?

Evaluating the community according to their standards

The residents of an assisted living community are consumers or clients and should be viewed as such. In your search for the right community, it’s important to understand their values. Read their mission statement and ask about informational material to help with your decision. Visit in person and talk with other residents or clients of this particular service provider. Observe the attitude of the staff members as well as the residents. You should get a positive overall feeling. 

Consider the following:

  • Are residents treated with dignity and respect?
  • How will your personal finances or funds be managed?
  • Is the administrative staff up front with you regarding what they offer and also about services they cannot offer?
  • Are you able to use your personal furnishings?
  • Are residents allowed their privacy?
  • Are residents given freedom of religion?
  • Is there a grievance process available to residents?
  • Are residents allowed or encouraged to participate in community activities?  

If you know that Assisted Living will be right for you, avoid waiting until you are under a time constraint or are in the situation where someone else must choose on your behalf.

There are many things that will influence your decision but most importantly - begin to read and research as much as you can as soon as possible. You might talk with friends, family, clergy or your doctor and consider their advice; but ultimately you must be the one that feels comfortable with your decision and with the place to which you choose to move.

Written by Alice Lucette

Find Senior Housing

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