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10 Tips for Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community
It can be difficult making a decision on which assisted living community is the best fit. The community you choose will be the place you call home in the next chapter of your life, and finding one that meets all of your needs and desires will give you and your family peace of mind. If you are just beginning to search, it can be difficult to know what to consider or how to compare communities. Consider our 10 tips for choosing the right assisted community for you and your family.
Take a Close Look at Safety and Security
During your tour of the community, examine the safety and security features in the apartments and around the campus. Look for safety alarms and grab bars in the bathroom, and ask about safety pendants and emergency call buttons. Find out where the nearest hospital is and the quality of it, and learn about the nursing team and their process for responding to a resident in need of help. Safety and security should be your main priorities.
Identify Your Needs Before Touring
Understand your needs, write them down to take with you, and use it as a checklist on tours. Knowing what type of care you or your loved one needs will help you to focus on the communities that can provide the best care. Communities that provide specific care for all of your needs should move to the top of your list.
Get Feedback from Residents and Staff
While touring a community, make sure to stop and talk to residents and staff members to get their feedback. How do they like being a part of the community? What do they like or dislike? Ask questions about anything important to you or your loved one, too. Understanding how actual residents and staff members feel about the community will help you determine if it’s a good fit or not.
Have a Plan
When you’ve decided it’s time to tour a community, take a moment to create a list of items that you want to know more about. Whether it’s a hobby you want to continue, an activity that you find interesting, or absolute deal breakers, having a plan of what you want to see while on campus will help you to get the most out of your tour.
Grab a Bite to Eat
The dining experience is an important factor, too. Most communities will provide a free meal to visitors during a tour, so make sure to take advantage of that offer. Not only is it essential to try the food, but asking about alternative dietary options, the number of meals each day, the quality of the ingredients, and any other dining questions you may have can provide valuable information for your decision process.
Take a notebook with you to write down your thoughts as you inspect everything you see. Do the residents look happy? Are there plenty of activities to do? Is the community clean and modern? Do things work properly? Is the staff friendly? Evaluating and documenting every aspect makes comparing communities later much easier.
Participate in an Activity
Before you visit, check the community’s activity calendar. Do you see anything listed that you or your loved one would be interested in? Is there a good balance of internal activities and outings away from the community? Are there religious services, if that’s important to you? Find an activity of interest and schedule your tour at that time so you can attend. Pay attention to how many people are at the event and how engaged the staff and residents are with one another.
Understand the Financial Commitment
You might visit a community and fall in love with its staff, services, and amenities only to find later that it’s out of your price range. During the tour, ask questions about fees and add-on options and request documents outlining the financial requirements. Outline the full cost of living and compare it to other communities.
Take Time to Decide
Don’t rush into a decision because of immediate health or personal crisis. Instead, take your time weighing the options and make the best decision for you or your loved one. This is the next chapter of your life and a significant financial commitment, so evaluating every aspect of the community and taking everything into consideration can help narrow your choices, and ultimately, help you find the best fit for you.