Senior living communities are the simplest choice for healthy aging not just for the access to medical assistance, but also for the opportunities for engagement and socialization, also as for the active lifestyle focused on wellness
It is estimated that roughly one million Americans 65+ years of age are residing in senior retirement communities or homes. It’s one of those decisions that every family has to take at some point or another. Often this is not the easiest decision of all.
Finding the right senior care community for your parents can be a challenging and emotional process. That’s why in this post we look at how you can make that process as easy as possible –
The first step in the process should be – research. That’s when reviews come to your help. Online reviews are a powerful way for you to discern which assisted facilities to shortlist. Reviews left by real people give you an authentic first-hand account of what life is going to be like at the said facility.
Reviews often talk about everything from good, bad, positive, negative, best, worst, and ugly. They often go into detail about the living arrangements, quality of food, staff interaction, amenities, and overall quality of life. You will never get such details from any guided tour on-premise.
With that said, do not just rely on the reviews. Be sure to visit the facility and get a guided tour. Always take bad reviews with a grain of salt. Sometimes, it simply means that a particular facility was not an ideal fit for that particular family. It’s entirely possible that your parents would love that same place.
Go with your intuition. Unless you come across something quite alarming such as abuse or alleged neglect; take negative reviews with a grain of salt.
Often a family physician is the best source of information on which assisted living facilities in the area would be a better fit.
Since they know all about the family history, medical history, and they also understand the personal needs of the parents – their suggestion is often the best.
If both or one of your parents are suffering from memory issues like Dementia or Alzheimer’s, it goes without saying that you need facilities equipped to handle special memory care needs.
Such patients often need a particular type of living arrangement with a dedicated medical care routine. Regular living assisted facilities often lack that.
Memory care units have specially trained staff that know how to handle unique circumstances and medical emergencies related to Dementia. There are more frequent check-ins from caregivers in a memory care facility.
Senior living communities can come at various price points. They can range from affordable, to rather expensive to luxurious senior living communities. Therefore, it’s important that you think about your budget beforehand.
It’s at this point that talking to a Family Advisor is super helpful. They can help you come up with a budgeting plan and also help you navigate various sources of money to cover the expenses. For instance, they might recommend your family member get an estimate of how much their life insurance policy is worth, in case they want to sell it for cash. Some of them are –
- Long term insurance
- Veteran benefits
- Social security
- Life insurance
- Real estate assets available for leveraging
- Annuities, pensions, and various other retirement incomes
- Any other assets available for selling/leveraging
- Local government programs
- Family contributions
It’s better if you work with a senior living advisor. He/she will help you compile a list of preferable communities within the area. Often this list is based on the required level of care and amenities available. The list also incorporates various factors like price points, locations, completed with features, consumer reviews, amenities, and pictures.
You can then ask for guided tours of the communities one by one to get a sense of the community in person.
The variety of senior care options can range from independent living communities that are better for active seniors to assisted living facilities with a varying range of care to specialized communities for memory and Alzheimer’s care.
Once again, within each of these communities, you will find various levels of care and corresponding amenities. Typically, your family advisor will ask to determine the level of care that your parents currently need. Based on that care needed they will come up with the right options.
Often, just by talking to the staff you get a good sense of the way they interact with patients and handle difficult situations/conflicts. Although online reviews will give you plenty of insight on this aspect, having an in-person conversation will paint a clear picture for you.
Avoid picking any facility that does not have clear and established ways of conflict handling.
Searching for assisted living is something that all families have to do at some point in their life. The more you educate yourself about this process, the easier it will get to pick the right one when the time comes.