Moving to an assisted living community is an emotional decision for both you and your parent. Since most of the people reaching retirement age today will eventually need some kind of long-term care, it’s important to think about in advance. It may be difficult for your parent to leave their lifelong home, but the right facility can truly improve their quality of life. These tips will help you find the right assisted living community for your parent’s needs.
Before you begin your search, decide how much you can afford to pay and how you will pay for assisted living. Do your parents have income or savings to cover the costs, or will you be paying for it out of pocket? As a family transition specialist, I can help you understand the steps you’ll need to take for financing assisted living.
When you know what you can afford, you can avoid visiting places that aren’t within your budget. This saves you time and energy and avoids the heartbreak of falling in love with a facility that’s simply too expensive.
This will be your parent’s new home, so the living space should be enjoyable and comfortable. Check out the available spaces and find out what furnishings and decorations they can bring with them.
Meal quality is incredibly important. Not only do you want to make sure your parent is getting nutritious meals, but the food should also be enjoyable. If they can have a favorite meal once a week, and get seconds or snacks if they’re hungry, they will have a much more satisfying experience.
When you visit a facility, pay attention to the way staff members speak to residents. Do they speak with compassion and care, or do they sound like they’re only there to get a paycheck? You want the staff who will be interacting with your parent regularly to be the kind of people who truly care about the elderly.
The quality of caregivers is truly important when considering where you parent will live. As for references and reach out to them to get a real feel for how the staff members treat residents.
You'll want to consider the staff-to-resident ratio, including how many nurses are on staff. This will vary from place to place, but make sure there is enough staff and medical practitioners to respond to residents’ needs.
Services and Activities
Of course, the right community must meet your parent’s needs. Find a facility that offers the services your parent a variety of activities they will enjoy.
Check out the activities calendar to see what’s offered. These events will be a time for your parent to socialize with other residents, so the activities offered should be in line with their interests.
Even if everything else about the facility looks great on paper, it has to feel right. Your parent’s personality will come into play here.
Watch how residents interact with each other. See if it’s the type of atmosphere your parent would want to be a part of. Once you’ve toured a facility that you think might be “the one”, drop in without notice. See what it’s like when they aren’t prepared for you.
Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community
Facilities come in different sizes with different costs, services, and atmospheres. What’s right for your parent will be as individual as they are.
A great service that you can always utilize is a senior placement agency. A Placement Agent is an expert in the senior living industry and helps locate ideal senior living options for a person's unique set of care needs, priorities, preferences, budgets, and lifestyle. Then, the agent assists in coordinating a transition to ensure that the move goes smoothly.
Linda Miller, who owns Caring Options in Phoenix, says the benefit of utilizing placement agent services is the expertise that the agent provides about the various senior living options where you live.
"There are over two thousand licensed assisted living in Maricopa County," she explains. "This service saves the client an invaluable amount of time and stress in searching for places that may not meet their specific criteria. The agent is an advocate for the client and will ensure that the client's best interests are being met. Trying to navigate this maze of senior living can be overwhelming, so having a professional guide you will provide a huge sense of relief!"