Assisted Living Tips

TIPS FOR VISITING AN ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY

Because assisted living regulations vary so widely from state to state, this is the senior living option families find most confusing. It is important to know what to ask and what to keep in mind when visiting a community. Keep these tips with you as you investigate your options and be sure to keep detailed notes on each assisted living community you visit.

1. UNDERSTAND WHAT LEVEL OF CARE THE SENIOR NEEDS

An honest assessment of your loved one’s physical and mental needs isn’t always easy to do, but it is necessary to help you understand what type of care they need. Are they able to bathe and dress on their own? What kinds of assistance do they need with their medications? Do they need laundry and/or housekeeping assistance? Knowing the answers to these questions will help assess what your family member’s level of care needs are.

If you are unsure about what level of care your loved one needs, contact one of our local Care Advisors to receive free assistance in determining what type of senior living community is best!

2. TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH THE ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY COSTS

Apples to apples comparison pricing is often tough to achieve when you are shopping for assisted living. Amenities and services vary greatly from community to community. While some communities have a set fee no matter what services are required, others have a base fee with what are sometimes complicated level of care charges added to the base fee. That is why it is so important to clarify what is included at each community. Ask what happens to the charges if your loved one needs more care and services? How much notice will they give if the monthly fee will increase?

In many assisted living communities, meals, laundry, housekeeping, cable and local phone services is included in the monthly fee, but it is important to verify that with the community. Most communities charge extra fees for medication reminders/assistance, so be aware if your loved one requires that assistance and factor that into the monthly price. Some assisted living communities have entrance fees or move-in fees, so find out what those are in advanced.  Don’t be afraid to ask staff if there are any charges that you haven’t asked them about. Also ask them what happens if your family member runs out of private funds.

If you are unsure about what other services or amenities are offered by the assisted living community, our Care Advisors can help you with your search. Our Care Advisors have detailed information on thousands of assisted living communities across the country and will help you with your search at absolutely no cost to you.

3. FIND OUT IF THE STAFF AT THE ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY IS TRAINED OR CERTIFIED

As you tour, watch how the staff interacts with the residents. Do they know their names and talk with them respectfully? Ask to meet the administrator and ask him/her about the hiring process. Is the staff at the assisted living community given background checks? Is there on-going training and education after they are hired? Is there a licensed nurse on-site 24/7 or just on call? Find out what the staff to resident ratio is, as well.

4. FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE RESIDENT OF THE ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY LEVEL OF CARE INCREASES

Because the regulations are sometimes broad in assisted living communities, how each community handles an aging in place resident varies widely. Understanding each community’s policy is an important factor in selecting a community. Ask them how they evaluate resident needs and how often. How is that information communicated back to you? What additional services do they have available when the need arises? What kinds of conditions would require your loved one to transfer to a nursing home or other level of care? If a move is necessary, how much notice would they give you?

5. FIND OUT WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SOCIALIZATION AND RECREATION

The physical challenges assisted living residents sometimes have can lead to isolation if there aren’t adequate opportunities for socialization. When you are touring communities, observe if there are any group activities or events. Are residents participating? Ask to see the events calendar and ask questions about planned activities. Are there planned opportunities for residents to go on shopping trips to area malls or out to local restaurants? Does staff go along to assist residents who need extra help? The evening meal is often an important part of the day for assisted living residents. Observe a meal. Do residents seem to be socializing and enjoying the dinner?

READY TO START LOOKING FOR ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITIES?

Call one of SeniorLiving.Net’s Care Advisors to help you with your search for the perfect assisted living community. By calling (866) 510-9738 you will speak to a Care Advisor in your local area that will discuss the level of care needed, monthly budget and the amenities you are looking for in an assisted living residence.  From there they will research what communities match your criteria and send a list of assisted living residences that are right for you!