Posted on 2017-10-09
As you enter a new and important chapter in your life, you might want to find a new accommodation. The decision to leave your old life and home behind is not easy, nor it shouldn’t be. It’s a decision that can be both financially and emotionally taxing on you and the ones around you. Whenever you decide to find the best assisted living community that suits your needs, some guidance along the way can help a lot.
Assisted living communities are created in order to accommodate seniors that wish to change their lifestyle and be more independent in their life choices but may need some assistance for some of their needs. Those needs may include day-to-day activities like meals, dressing clothes, health and medication, transportation, bathing and mobility. The assisted living communities should make you feel at ease of mind and provide help with the beforementioned needs.
More specific needs that may arise might be provided at extra cost and they include ease of access to health services, housekeeping, disorders that some seniors might have, like Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, arthritis etc., staff that is available 24/7 for your personal needs, as well as security, exercise and yoga programs, laundry service, access to health services, and, most importantly, a plethora of social and recreational activities.
Most assisted living communities can and are operated by non-profits or for-profit companies and consist of apartments with 30-120 units which vary from single rooms to apartments. Some also contain houses with staff on site.
Try to do the research for the ones that you think might suit you best. Then go visit assisted living community, and the next, and the one after the next. See the flaws of each you visited and try to look for those in every one you visit. This is an important step and you must be sure in your decision. Set the most important aspects or questions you might have beforehand. Some of them might include:
Do the residents and staff seem happy? Is the staff of the assisted living community friendly and seems to really care about the residents and their job? Do you have some common interests with the residents? Do the activities suit your needs? Are the facilities easily accessible?
Most importantly, does it feel like home? Does it have warm colors or feel warm? How many choices do you have? Do the units have their own kitchen? Private bathrooms? Are there single options? Is there any heating and a thermostat? Are there any windows that provide you with natural lighting? Good views and green areas? Is there enough storage space? Are the cabinets easily reachable?
Is the staff available 24/7? Is there a fire alarm and sprinkler system? Does every room contain smoke detectors? Are the halls and ground areas well lit? Do the hallways have handrails? Are they wheelchair accessible? Are the entrances and exits secured?
Does the community have religious services on-site? Is there a transportation system set in place? Do they have arrival and leaving schedules? Are there any gyms? Computers and printers? Massage and other therapies? Is there a monthly calendar events schedule? Beauty salons and barber’s? Is the community well-equipped with books, groceries? Is there a cinema, mall or other social sites?
Ask for a copy of the resident agreement that contains the facility’s obligations and extra fees charges.
Does the community kitchen have a variety of healthy food options? If possible, ask to taste the food. Definitely ask for the facility’s licenses and certification reports. Also, look for some independent online or local news reports which show patterns of residents’ neglect as well as health reports.
Are friends and families allowed to stay overnight and, if not, for how long can they stay in your home?
Ask for the staff to residents’ ratio. A satisfactory ratio that suits fairly independent residents is 1:15. Depending on the number of facilities, the ratio may vary. In smaller facilities, the staff may perform most of the duties while in larger facilities, the separate duties are given to different staff members. Ask for the staff turnover rate. If the rate is in the double digits, it may be an indication to some management issues.
Are the staff and facilities equipped to accommodate residents whose health deteriorates or they become more disabled?
Do the people that dispense medication have proper certifications and how much training do they receive. All states have their own training requirements.
According to APlaceForMom, the U.S. states with the most expensive median rates for monthly assisted living costs are:
According to the same article, the U.S. states with the least expensive median rates for monthly assisted living costs are:
This is not to say that you might find some more or less expensive options, depending on the research you do. in many states, Medicaid covers some of the assisted living services. For example, if your annual income is bellow $12,000, you might qualify for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 202 and Section 8 senior assisted housing.
The things you need to consider when looking for the best assisted living community vary, but they mostly come down to apartment size, the level of care required and, of course, the additional services which are subject to additional fees, as well as administrative fees.