How Do I Choose an Assisted Living Community?
Moving to an Assisted Living Community can mean a better quality of life. Learn how to choose the right community for you or a loved one, and the questions to ask staff when you visit.
Assisted Living is designed for people in need of varying levels of medical and personal care, who need assistance with the activities of daily living, or ADLs. The five main ADLs include personal hygiene (bathing, personal grooming), continence (help in the restroom), dressing, mobility, and eating. As people age, they may experience social, cognitive, and/or physical decline which may require increased daily care needs.
Assisted Living can also be the perfect balance for seniors who may need some kind of help, but want to maintain the most active lifestyle possible. In this article, we will explore what to focus on while looking for the best Assisted Living community for you or your loved one.
What to Consider When Choosing an Assisted Living Community
There are many factors to be mindful of when researching and deciding whether Assisted Living is right for you or your loved one. Let’s look at some main elements to consider when evaluating an Assisted Living community:
- Proximity to family members.
- Lodging availability for out-of-town family visitors.
- Nearness to a hospital.
- How far from the closest Fire Department and Paramedics station.
A quality Assisted Living community can cost between $4,000 and $9,500 per month depending on the state and region in which the property is located. Pricing is broken down by the following expenses:
- Other Services
The services offered at an Assisted Living community significantly impacts the quality of life for you or your loved one. Below are some of the services you may want to look for when evaluating different communities:
- Aesthetically pleasing living accommodations.
- Attractive public areas.
- A diverse dining program.
- Housekeeping and laundry.
- Recreational and religious activities.
- 24-hr security.
- Educational opportunities.
- An emergency call system.
Once you’ve determined the daily care requirements that you or an older adult needs, you’ll want to evaluate the amenities and social opportunities offered by each Assisted Living community. Many amenities function to ward off loneliness and help you or your loved one live a fulfilling life.
Many Assisted Living communities provide amenities such as:
- Attractive surroundings including courtyards, gazebos, walking paths etc.
- A dedicated chef who offers a wide variety of meals.
- Activities like art therapy, arts and crafts, baking classes, bingo and group exercise.
- Spa services including manicures and pedicures.
- A fitness or wellness center.
- Social Activities such as happy hours, holiday celebrations, ice cream socials, and more.
How to Evaluate Assisted Living Communities
Although it can seem overwhelming when initially looking into Assisted Living communities, be assured you can and will find the best situation for yourself or your loved one. As you start the process of finding the right type of Assisted Living property, follow these steps:
- Do research and read reviews.
- Schedule a visit.
- Talk to the staff.
Speaking with the Staff
Once you’ve done the research, you can narrow down your choices. From there, arrange in-person tours to get a feel for the environment and staff to see if the community is a good fit. Make it a priority to meet with as many staff members as possible, such as the medical team, nutritionists, managers, and class instructors.
Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting in Person
- Cleanliness of the grounds and building.
- Is there anything run-down or broken?
- Are there odors or dirty floors?
- Are safety measures in place such as emergency exits, well-marked signs, grab bars, safety locks on windows and doors, as well as functioning smoke detectors and sprinklers?
- How are the other residents? Ask them their thoughts and feelings about living there. Do they seem well groomed, happy and friendly?
- Is the staff kind and attentive?
Below is a helpful list of priority questions to ask when touring and evaluating each Assisted Living community:
Questions to Ask the Staff
- Is the staff available 24-hours to assist residents with activities of daily living (ADLs)?
- What training and certifications do the staff members have?
- Do residents’ apartments and living spaces come furnished? Can they be decorated to suit individual tastes?
- What types of rooms are currently available?
- What is the staff member to resident ratio?
- Are there visiting physicians and specialists?
- Are pets allowed?
- Is transportation offered to residents for medical or personal appointments?
- Are meals prepared fresh daily? Is there a focus on organic ingredients? Ask to sample the food or enjoy a meal in their dining hall.
Questions to Ask About a Community’s Culture and Activities
- Is there an activities and events calendar?
- What special amenities and services are offered, such as a salon or spa?
- Is the Activity Professional certified?
- Are there fees associated with certain activities?
- Is there live entertainment provided?
- Are residents actively encouraged to participate in activities and events?
An Assisted Living Community can offer a very positive change for you or a loved one. It may take some time and research to find the right community, but it will be well worth your effort. Learn more about some additional benefits of Assisted Living and how these communities help residents live in a nurturing and supportive environment.