If you are considering assisted living for you or a loved one, the decision can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to make the process a little less stressful.
First, do your research so you can be an informed decision maker. Tour several communities, and ask questions. Second, remember that not all assisted livings are created equal, particularly in terms of what is included in their monthly fee.
Learn how each community cares for its residents. What services are available, who provides them and is someone available to help around the clock—or just during business hours? Does the community have its own nursing staff or do other agencies provide those services? Do residents receive customized, personal care to help them maintain their independence? Is assistance is available for activities for daily living, including medication management and help with dressing or bathing?
Ask what is included. Do residents live in private apartments that include bathrooms and small kitchenettes? Are three meals each day, weekly laundry and linen service and light housekeeping, scheduled transportation and some personal care services included in the rent? Most assisted living communities offer similar amenities. The difference: the cost. Ask each community you visit, about their community fees, levels of care and average annual rent increases.
Pay attention to the activities offered. There should be a wide variety of activities, such as daily exercise programs, gardening, painting and poetry writing and bingo. As you look at the offerings available, think about whether you, or your loved one, would participate.
Notice what the culture is like at each community you visit. Is it a more formal atmosphere? Are residents socializing, more mobile and having fun, and how are residents and staff interacting? Would you or your loved one be more comfortable in a smaller community where you can get to know everyone, or is a more lavish, populated environment preferred? At the end of each tour, consider your observations. Does the community feel like home?
Narrow down your choices. After you do your research, it is important to select your top two or three assisted living communities. This will make it easier to decide, especially if you are doing the research for someone else.