Choosing an assisted living community to call home is a big (but exciting!) step. Take some time to research and choose a great community for your needs. If you are interested in an assisted living community, here are four tips you can use to ensure that you find the best place for you…
1. Visit More than One Assisted Living Community
It may be tempting to do a one-and-done when shopping around. However, you should take a tour of several residences when choosing an assisted living community. If you’re able, try to schedule your visit during an activity so you can see how social programming is run, if a lot of people attend, and how well others in the community seem to get along. You may want to write down your impressions immediately following your visit so you can compare places later on.
2. Be Observant
When you visit each location, take your time and really see what life is like at the assisted living community. You should ask to see apartments, activity areas, and other sections of the residence. During your tour, keep an eye on the staff. Observe how they treat residents and visitors. Ask questions about how many staff are available to assist and strike up a conversation with one or two staff members about working at the community.
3. Ask Questions
Ask questions. Take a few minutes before your first visit to come up with a list of questions for each community you see, our use this free guide. A few you may want to include are:
- Questions about the provider's background and experience in managing housing
- Questions about licensing and certifications. You can also look up licenses and certifications on your state's website.
- Questions about how the facility ensures that residents receive great care and services.
- Questions about those services. This will help you determine whether the assisted living facility provides what you need.
Get all the details you can. Some communities charge extra for certain services and this could affect your overall cost. You will want to know about meals, utilities, television, maintenance, activities, housekeeping, transportation, and safety – to name a few.
Don't forget to ask about health and medical support, how your medication is given (or if you are responsible for keeping track of your own medications), and how the assisted living community works with your insurance company.
4. Crunch the Numbers
After you have visited several assisted living residences, sit down and look at the numbers. Choose your top or favorites and add up how much each place will cost. Do not just rely on the number they give you in the pamphlet. Remember to take into consideration any extra expenses that are not included in the monthly fee.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, consider making a second visit to your favorite two or three communities. Take a family member or friend with you and get their opinion. It also never hurts to talk to a few residents who live at the assisted living facility for an insider's perspective.
Choosing the right assisted living community will provide you with everything you need within easy reach, including your privacy and freedom.