Everyone values their independence, but as our population ages, more and more people are opting for assisted living communities. When that time comes for your parents or grandparents, be ready to help out. Here are 3 tips to help your loved ones choose an assisted living community:
1. Understand the basic types of senior living options.
With the “graying of America” there has been a sharp increase in the number of housing and care options that are available to seniors. These include independent living communities, assisted living communities, nursing homes, special care units and more. Some developments will include several of these options. Be familiar with what each one offers.
2. Seek to balance the issues.
There are three important issues to consider when selecting the right assisted living situation: the overall quality of life offered, the standards and type of care available, and the bottom line cost and value.
Quality Of Life
When you’re working with family members to help them understand this issue and strike a good balance, it’s important that they fully realize what they value in their “quality of life.” For example, a far off facility may have many attractive “bells and whistles,” but if the companionship of old friends from their hometown are a vital component in their quality of life, the distant facility may not be the best choice.
Standards Of Care
What standards of care are available? Find out how the community will respond when a medical emergency arises or when your family member’s conditions changes. Are increased levels of care available at or near the same facility? Have this discussion with your family and with the management of any prospective assisted retirement community. Be sure to find out how costs will increase with higher levels of care.
Cost And Value
When considering cost, affordability and value, be sure to fully compute your parent’s current living costs. When items like property upkeep, real estate taxes and insurance that are currently paid out of pocket are considered, the cost of an assisted living community may not be as expensive as it was originally thought to be. Of course “value” is also a part of this consideration. What does the community provide? Are there organized outings or other ways for your family members to stay active and involved, and are they likely to participate or sit on the sidelines? Will the golf course and tennis courts be used frequently enough to justify the additional cost?
3. Get good, balanced reviews of the community.
Don’t depend on your first impressions. Work hard to get a balanced perspective of any assisted living community under consideration. Talk to various levels of the professional staff, the residents themselves as well as the families of current residents. When you’re talking to residents and their families, see if they have any major regrets. Find out if they failed to ask anything that they now think would have been an important question. And, knowing what they know now, would they have done anything differently? Further, make sure you discuss these issues with a variety of residents and their families. The first person you talk to might be the community’s worst malcontent or its biggest booster. You want balanced reviews.
These three “tips” truly cover several very large and vitally important concerns. Study the issues and take your time. If you can give your parents or grandparents wise counsel, it will prove to be invaluable.
About the author:
Gabriel Gervelis writes for Fedelta Care Solutions, a company that helps seniors choose the best assisted living arrangement for their needs.
Stock photography used by license.