How To Choose an Assisted Living Community

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Assisted living facilities offer seniors the opportunity of living in an independent environment coupled with the convenience of 24-hour access to personal assistance. Typically, services include communal meals, housekeeping, outings, and social activities. Choosing an assisted living community is an important decision. Here are a few things to consider to help you in your search:

  1. Assess your current needs and try to foresee your needs in both the near and extended future. The ideal assisted living facility will be able to address those needs for a number of years.
  2. Stay close to home, if possible. Try to find an assisted living community near your friends and family; one of the greatest contributors to our quality of life is the time we get to spend with loved ones. Choosing to live close to those you love will make it much easier to visit frequently.

  3. Take a tour of several assisted living facilities so that you can make comparisons. Be sure to take the time to talk to current residents and ask them about their level of satisfaction with the facility, the staff, the food, and the amenities. Ask them what changes they would implement if they could.
  4. Pay attention to how staff members treat the residents. Are they respectful and cheerful? Do they seem to genuinely like their jobs? If you decide to move into an assisted living community, members of the staff will be a part of your daily life; be sure that they seem kind and accommodating.
  5. Check up on the reputation of any facility that you are considering. Go to your favorite search engine and type in the name of the facility that you are curious about. At least one of the highest ranking results will likely be a safety report, which will list any recent violations. Regulations vary a bit from state to state, but all senior housing facilities must meet certain requirements. When interpreting these reports, remember that even very reputable facilities may have an occasional code violation. It is important to assess the violations on a case by case basis, since some are certainly more important than others. For example, it may not alarm you that a facility was cited for one non-working smoke alarm, but cases of resident neglect or abuse should be a great cause for concern.
  6. Look at what the facility has to offer in terms of socialization. Ideally, there will many choices of activities that include opportunities to exercise both your body and your mind. Craft projects, music, exercise classes, game nights, and outings should be available. Ideally, there are both indoor and outdoor common areas that are available to residents and guests for visiting.
  7. Most assisted living communities offer communal dining for residents. If possible, stop for a meal when you are touring the facility. Is the food tasty and nutritious? Does the kitchen and dining room staff seem friendly? Ask about the facility's capabilities to accommodate special dietary needs or preferences. Be sure that if you have visitors, they will be welcome to dine with you (at an extra cost).
  8. Medical emergencies do arise, so be sure that the assisted living community has the capability to respond as needed. Are there medical professionals on staff and available at all hours? How far away are the nearest fire department and paramedics? What is the typical response time once a call for help has been placed? Senior housing facilities keep detailed records regarding emergencies, so they should easily be able to provide you with answers to these questions.For everyday medical care, you may have to go off-site. Does the assisted living facility provide transportation to accommodate your doctor, dentist, or optometrist appointments or will you need to make your own arrangements?
  9. Residents of assisted living communities enjoy the independence of having their own apartment or suite, while having the benefits of nearby help, as needed. When touring the site, be sure to look closely at the individual housing units. Are all bathrooms safety equipped with grab bars in the tub/shower area as well as beside the commode? Are there at least minimal kitchen facilities so that you can prepare a small meal or snack if you choose? Is the apartment equipped with an emergency call button, in case you need to request assistance? Are there comfort features, such as individually controlled heat and air conditioning?
  10. Moving into an assisted living community is an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. By making a careful and well thought-out decision, you can be sure that you will find a new place that you are happy to call home.


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