As your loved one ages, you may notice signs that they need more help with everyday tasks or medical care. Many families look to assisted living communities when they realize loved ones need more support than the family can provide. Assisted living communities provide essential support, while offering family members much needed peace of mind.
Choosing the right community for your loved one is an important decision. With so many factors to consider, it can be overwhelming. Having a plan, understanding your options, and asking the right questions will result in an easier, more successful process for all involved. Take these steps to find the best assisted living community for your loved one.
Include the Entire Family in Planning
When considering an assisted living community, it is important to start a conversation as a family, including your loved one. Being on the same page will ensure a better process for everyone.
During the discussion, it’s important to:
- Be honest about your loved one’s needs and the role each person will play.
- Listen to your loved one and allow them to share their feelings or apprehensions.
- Invite everyone’s input but be prepared for disagreements.
- Consider professional mediation, which can help the group reach a mutual understanding.
What Does Assisted Living Truly Mean?
Assisted living, in short, means that each resident receives personalized assistance with activities of daily living in a supportive community setting. The level of support provided is determined through a health assessment that each resident receives before moving in to ensure their specific needs are met.
What most people don’t realize is that assisted living communities offer far more than help with activities of daily living. In addition, residents are provided many social engagement and lifestyle benefits, allowing them to live with the independence and dignity they desire and deserve.
When planning ahead for assisted living, consider:
- Your loved one’s needs and what each community offers.
- Opportunities for engagement in social events and activities.
Make A Plan to Pay for Care
Once you understand your loved one’s needs, determining what they can afford is the next step. Often, the cost of care is the biggest factor and the cost of assisted living can vary greatly depending on location and services provided.
Most families cover assisted living costs using personal funds, however, there are some programs and financial tools that may help. Before deciding if your loved one can afford an assisted living community, speak with an advisor at the community who can help you understand your options. When all financial resources are reviewed, many are surprised to find that when they plan ahead for assisted living is not out of reach.
When speaking to an advisor:
- Be prepared to share your loved one’s finances. Starting with this information will help avoid surprises later.
- Review the community’s pricing structure and understand the difference between cost per care levels and all-inclusive pricing.
- Understand what services and amenities are available for your loved one.
- Ensure you understand the process should your loved one run out of funds.
Take a Tour of Each Community You Are Considering
While exploratory research can be very informative, virtual and in-person tours provide a better understanding of each community and all that they have to offer. Use the tour as an opportunity to explore the residences, sample the cuisine, meet residents and team members, and get a feel for the overall lifestyle at the community.
When Planning a Tour:
- Plan to take your loved one with you, as they are the one who will be living there.
- Schedule your visit at a time that offers interaction with staff and residents.
- If timing allows, participate in a planned community activity or join residents for a meal.
- Prepare a list of questions you would like to cover during your tour.
- If you like a community, visit more than once.
Planning ahead for Assisted Living
When you and your loved one have decided it’s time for the move, it’s important to do so as soon as possible. Delaying could lead to your loved one second-guessing their decision, or worse, additional care issues that could have been avoided.
When Preparing for the Move:
- Determine what belongings your loved one has and plan to sell or donate the items they no longer need or want.
- Gather all important legal documents and ensure they are transferred to a safe location.
- Determine if you will move your loved one on your own or if you need to hire a moving company. Establish a plan that makes the most sense and creates the least amount of stress for you and your loved one.
By using these steps, your loved one and all those involved in this important decision will be positioned for a successful transition to assisted living. For more information about assisted living at