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Finding the Right Senior Living Community for Your Loved One

As we age, many of us will get to a point where we can’t safely handle all our activities of daily living, or ADLs. When living independently becomes difficult or hazardous for an older adult, it might be time to consider the benefits of getting more help and care in a senior living community. It is no easy decision, but it is often the right one.

It is normal for most seniors to feel a little resistant about moving into a senior living community. But as long as you spend a bit of time learning some tips to find the best senior living community near you, the transition will be much less stressful.

Tips to Find Senior Living Near You or Your Family Members

The best senior living option is the one that works for your family‘s unique situation. Learn more about which specific senior community is best for your family and how to find a senior living community near you with the tips below.

Tip 1. Determine the Level of Care Needed

When considering senior living communities, you’ll first need to determine what support you or your family member requires. Think about what help is needed right now, regardless of how small it may be. What help is possibly needed in the future?

Now start looking at the different forms of senior living communities to find which one best matches your current and future needs. Popular types of senior living (and the senior care services they offer) include:

  • Independent living community – An independent living community is for older adults who want to live in a community of other seniors. These communities do not offer a higher level of care like other senior communities do as residents typically can manage their day-to-day lives on their own. The appeal of these communities is companionship and having someone else take care of home maintenance and yard work.
  • Assisted living communityAssisted living communities are for older adults who require some assistance with activities of daily living, or ADLs. ADLs are activities that someone needs to complete on a daily basis to have a good quality of life; these activities include grooming and bathing. In addition to help with ADLs, these communities also offer services and amenities like wellness classes at an on-site fitness center, salons, and regularly scheduled social activities.
  • Memory care communityMemory care is the housing option that makes sense for people living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. These communities offer a safe and secure environment for people living with cognitive decline while still offering many amenities seen in assisted living facilities, like social activities.
  • Skilled nursing care community (nursing home) – At this type of senior community, residents receive 24/7 skilled nursing care and caregiving from highly trained staff members. It is perfect for residents with severe physical or mental disabilities.
  • Continuing care retirement community (CCRC) – Our needs change as we age. CCRCs allow people to access a continuously higher level of care in one location. For example, someone can enter a CCRC only needing a level of care offered by assisted living communities; they can end up needing the services of a memory care community but, rather than moving to a new location, can receive those services in the same living space.
  • Home care – In-home care is care received in the comfort of one’s own home as opposed to receiving it in specialized senior housing. In this setting, traveling nurses can offer healthcare services or trained caregivers can assist with personal care needs like grooming, cooking, and light housekeeping.

Tip 2. Investigate Safety

Safety should always be a priority, whether you’re looking at care options for yourself or a loved one. There is no price tag on preserving well-being, especially for seniors.

Some of the best ways to determine the safety of a given community include:

Check State Records

While the place may look great with clean common areas and green gardens, these amenities do not necessarily reflect the community’s safety. You can find records of offenses at state offices. These records provide a “background check” as you search for the right place and weed out the bad ones.

Talk to the Staff and Residents

During a visit, take the opportunity to talk with staff members and current residents alike. You might be surprised by how willing they are to open up about their experiences. It is essential to know if they feel completely safe and comfortable.

Examine Security Policies and Features

You can learn about security features, complaints, and hiring policies by asking the community’s director. For example, ask if they have a system in place to automatically alert staff in the event of an emergency or if they have the resources necessary to safely house you or your loved one with special medical needs.

Tip 3. Budget

Although some senior living costs can seem high, most people are surprised at how affordable it is compared to the costs of owning or renting a home. Crunch some numbers before you make your decision.

The list of expenses can be long, even if the mortgage has already been paid. In your calculations, you should include taxes, groceries, entertainment, home maintenance, age-related renovations, and medical costs or home health care expenses.

After that, calculate your financial resources. Include assets and income sources like surviving spouse benefits, veteran’s benefits, retirement investments, real estate, pensions, Medicare, and private long-term care insurance.

You’ll know what you can afford and if you need to look into federal aid programs for the elderly like Medicaid.

Tip 4. Tour the Community

Never make a big decision based solely on Internet research. The only way to truly understand which community will be best is to take a tour.

Senior living communities are accustomed to setting up tours. Ensure that you walk the whole community to check out the floor plans, including the resident’s rooms. Talk to the current residents and staff members to hear their opinion.

Be sure to ask the following questions (and more) at your chosen community:

  • What levels of assistance do they provide?
  • Is the community pet friendly?
  • What amenities and services are offered?
  • Are there different sizes or types of units available?
  • Do any units have kitchens/kitchenettes?
  • Are there private bathrooms for residents?
  • Does each resident have a written care plan?
  • How involved are residents in their care plans?
  • Does the community have adequate safety features installed, such as handrails and call buttons?
  • How simple and easy is it to follow the floor plan?

Do all the research, take a tour, and ask for opinions and professional help. Most of all, trust your gut.

Find the Right Level of Senior Living You Need at Avista

Avista Senior Living can help you or your loved one find a senior living community near you. We will talk you through everything, from budget and determining level of care to touring the community. Our memory care, assisted living, and short-term respite care services are second to none. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a tour of one of our communities.

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