As you or your parents age, you might find it helpful to live in a place where many of the daily living tasks get done by another person, but you or they can still live independently. This describes an assisted living center, a choice that provides those who cannot afford in-home care an option.
Rather than hire a nurse to assist in your or your parents’ existing home, choose to live in a center that provides either apartment living or private rooms. These may allow for a roommate, but they do not use a hospital ward design.
How Do You Choose an Assisted Living Center?
Your choice depends on your needs and likes. Consider the following when you research facilities.
Decide on the type of assisted living center you want. Some comprise a building or department in a larger nursing home or residential hospital. Other assisted living centers function as independent living centers.
Determine the population mix desired. Some centers cater only to senior citizens. Some allow people of all ages which means some residents may have a disability that would make it a challenge to live alone such as severe cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease.
Other centers cater to those with a specific disease, such as Lakeside Manor, which specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Choose the activity level you want available. Although they may need someone else to literally do the heavy lifting, many seniors want a full social schedule still.
These centers often provide optional activities every day of the week. The cottage or apartment living environment encourages community and community involvement.
Determine which facilities you can afford. Medicare and Medicaid pay for assisted living centers, but may not cover the entire cost.
It may require dipping into retirement or using your monthly Social Security check or annuity disbursement.
Make a visit to the centers you consider. At a minimum, the center you choose should provide 24-hour security as well as assistance and supervision.
The center should include three meals per day, served in a group dining area. These facilities also provide meals delivered to the apartment or room.
If needed, the center should provide staff to assist with personal care such as bathing and dressing, toileting, and eating. There should also be a housekeeping and laundry staff available.
Other common services include medication reminders or delivery, health care, a social services department, wellness and exercise programs, as well as transportation for excursions such as shopping trips.
Questions to Ask on a Visit
Ask the following questions when you visit a facility. These help you determine the level of care and facility quality.
- How is your staff trained? What qualifications does your staff have?
- How many rooms do you offer?
- What is the staff-to-patient ratio?
- Odes your facility create a written care plan for me or my loved one?
- Are you a transitional care facility?
- Do your current residents closely match my or my loved one’s situation?
- Are there shopping centers and other businesses nearby? Are they within walking distance?
- What activities do you offer?
Eat a meal at each facility you consider. This lets you experience the service and food quality.
Consider that you or your loved one will essentially eat out for three meals a day, and that means you need a facility that cooks healthy food; caters to special diets; provides respectful service with a smile.
Talk to other residents. Explore the public areas of the facility – both inside and out.
After you leave, check the state licensing report for each center. Make sure they have earned a super reputation.