Factors to Consider Before Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

If you are an independent elderly adult but would like to have some help with certain daily chores like cooking or getting the groceries due to your age or physical limitations, nursing home with round-the-clock- care might not be what you require.

An assisted living facility could be the best bet for you as this institution is built around the idea of maximizing independence, offering socialization, and focusing on well-being while still offering a home-like environment with assistance when needed.

Now, you don’t need us to tell you that picking an assisted living community is a major decision to make.

Tips to choose senior living facility

Take care beforehand to make sure you are satisfied with your new living environment.

This is not a decision you can make based on internet search alone, You need to see the place beforehand, talk to other residents, and make an overall inspection of the amenities offered, the efficiency of the care home staff, etc.

Read on to get an idea of what important factors need to be considered while deciding on an assisted living community for yourself.

1. Location

We understand that your main objective would be to remain in the local area or to be close to loved ones. But, the location of the assisted living center makes a difference in how they function, due to the laws in that area and this should be a priority on your list.

The level of care and amenities allowed at an assisted living facility are specifically outlined by some states. For instance, certain states limit the extent of medical care the residences can offer, so if you need a significant amount in those states, you may not be the right candidate for an assisted living facility after all – or you may consider looking at another state.

If you are an older adult who is quite independent, and can manage well without the services not offered in the care facilities in your preferred location, you may be able to make it work. Keep in mind that these assisted living facilities in those places tend to focus more on community building than medical care.

2. Size of the Senior Living Facility

Now, when we say size, we want you to think of two aspects here: As a prospective resident, you need to evaluate the size of the assisted living residence, and the staff-to-resident ratio.

Size can also affect the types of services offered. Larger ones, for instance, may be more likely to offer amenities like movie theaters and swimming pools, or specialized units for memory care.

New Senior Care Facility

There is a type of assisted living facility that generally has few residents and as many as one staff member per five or six residents. “That [ratio] is a good thing to consider,” she says, as well as the general attitude of the staff. Does working with an aging population seem to be their passion, or do they simply clock in and clock out? Reeves explains.

3. Type of Assisted Living Services Offered

As you may already know, an assisted living home typically offers housekeeping, dining, and medical services. They also provide health and wellness programs, medication management support, and even customized senior care services based on individual health needs.

For instance, 60 percent of assisted living services include an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia program, and a diabetes program. There are facilities that offer heart health and depression programs as well.

If your idea of a senior living arrangement also includes programs that enhance the quality of life, like lounges, pool, pet therapy, art and music community, group outings, etc, you can consider a premium assisted living home that offers such services to its residents.

4. Ease of Access to Continuing Care Retirement Community

There are many assisted living facilities that are a part of a larger continuing care retirement community. These give you the flexibility to move from assisted living to skilled nursing facilities if and when you need to.

On the other hand, some assisted living residence may have tie-ups with other health care providers; this means that they can refer you to a continuing care retirement community once your health care requirements exceed what the residence offers.

senior woman talking with the nurse

The idea of moving from total independence to a residence with care can be hard especially if you are an older person who’s been able to manage chores more or less independently.

But you need to understand that a time may come where you need a skilled nursing facility and senior care in a continuing care retirement services community might just be what you need.

This helps you plan ahead and choose an assisted living care facility which makes it easier for you to make the transition.

5. Cost

Cost is, of course, an important factor that you need to bear in mind while evaluating your senior care options. Whether or not you can afford an assisted living facility makes or breaks whether you should consider living there.

Different facilities have different payment arrangements and schedules as well. It could be an arrangement where you pay them based on an upfront cost, monthly rent, a la carte services, or a tiered system.

We suggest that you narrow down your options to the facilities that you can afford, and evaluate them the same way you would regardless of the cost.

6. Pet Policy

Many of you have a beloved four-legged friend who you want close by at all times. In such a case, you need to find a senior living facility where pets are allowed.

More and more communities are now open to allowing pets as research makes it clearer about the benefits of seniors having a pet around wise about the benefits of pets for seniors.

Senior woman and dog

On the other hand, if do not like being around animals, or if you have an allergy to cats or dogs, you need to find a community that does not breach your comfort, well-being, and safety.

7. Culture

As an older adult who is planning to move into a strange environment, you need to understand the kind of values and culture the particular establishment upholds.

If you are a spiritual person, you will definitely feel more at home at a place where there are enough spiritual activities and where an adequate emphasis is given for prayer and religious ceremonies.

In the same way, you need to understand whether they provide opportunities for the residents to be social and get involved in entertaining activities.

A well established assisted living facilities offer various programs and activities in order to enhance the physical, spiritual, social, and intellectual aspects of the residents.

8. Skilled Nursing

Assisted living centers should also have a team of efficient and dedicated staff at their establishment. The team is in fact, the backbone of the long-term care facility and you would need to know how sincere and dedicated they are at their job. It only takes a visit to the assisted living center to get an idea of how the staff interacts with the residents.

How staff and residents interact speaks volumes about life at a long-term care facility. Do the nurse assistants call the residents by their names? Do they respond promptly to calls from the elderly?

senior woman with nurse staff

Also, keep an eye out for the interaction between the staff members. Staff members who talk more to each other than to the residents is a red flag.

We know the process of moving to another living space is hard, and we can only help you make a wise choice by pointing out some crucial factors to look out for. Because at the end of the day, you can’t predict what it’s like to live in an assisted living facility until you actually do it. All you can do is gain as much information as possible about your potential options by making a thorough visit first.

In today’s age, it’s highly understandable that one might rely on an internet search to find something quickly and be done with it. However, this assisted living center is where you or a loved one is going to live for the foreseeable future and you don’t want to end up in the wrong place during the tough times of your life!

The same as you wouldn’t buy a house through a mere internet search, do not compromise on visiting the facility, talking to the staff and residents, eating a meal with the staff or residents, and getting to know the environment. The crux is that you need to make sure it feels like the right place for you.

How to choose the right assisted living facility for your loved one?

Go through the details of various assisted living communities and make a shortlist. Once this has been done, fix an appointment and visit each of the communities you are considering. We understand that this is time-consuming, but you should do it because moving a loved one to an assisted living facility is not a decision you can take lightly. After visiting the facilities you have a clearer idea of what your options are and know what can be done.

We hope that the information has been helpful to you in your search for an assisted living facility. Do let us know if you have any inputs that might be helpful for our readers!

About Aswathy Suresh