Did you know there are more than 29,000 senior care facilities in America?
It’s great to hear you have options. Choosing the right one depends on several factors, and doing so will help you achieve peace of mind when handling the future of a loved one.
But knowing how to choose a senior community isn’t always clear. Especially if this is your first time navigating the process or if you need to make a decision soon.
Fortunately, there are things you can look for and steps you can take to find the right fit.
Here’s how to know which senior community is right for your loved one.
Know The Different Types of Senior Communities
There are different types of senior communities. Understanding the difference, which can be stark, is the first thing you need to do to make an informed decision.
The three types of communities are:
- Continued care retirement communities
- Assisted living communities
- Independent living
As you can tell just by the title, the offerings at each community will differ a lot.
Continuing care facilities typically offer medical or rehabilitative services along with living. If your loved one is suffering from an injury or needs regular medical treatment, this is probably your best option.
Assisted living means your loved one can still do many things on their own. Assistance comes in the form of meals, medication, and personal care. The types of amenities offered in these facilities can vary a lot.
Independent living means your loved one is pretty much going about their life. These environments are highly social and often full of amenities. Assistance is offered in the form of transportation, but most of the services are designed to make life fun and exciting for members.
Consider Your Budget
Now that you have an idea of the three types of senior communities, it’s time to consider your budget.
How much you’ll pay each month and for how long should both come into play. For example, a high-quality facility with amenities and social events may be the best choice. But if you’ll only be able to afford it for a few years, does that make it a good fit?
It’s also important to see how their services are tiered or structured. Perhaps your loved one isn’t needing expensive care now. But will the facility be out of your budget two years from now when they do?
Considering your budget when choosing senior communities is like choosing a home. Living above your means might be enjoyable for a short period of time, but it rarely ends as nice.
Compare Care Options
It’s worth calling and touring as many facilities as time allows. This can help you understand the nuances of each senior community center. The details are what ultimately determine the best fit.
Ask as many questions as you see fit on your visit. Try to meet with several staff members. Also, talk to as many members of the community as possible and see how they feel about the care they receive.
Remember, the Federal Fair Housing Act covers senior care facilities. If for some reason you get pushback, be sure to bring this up and insist employees follow through on their promises.
The next step in regards to how to choose senior communities is to know what’s ahead. Facilities make you sign on the dotted line to ensure you’re committed to staying there. It’s your job to make sure you know what you’re signing your loved one up for and what will change over time.
For example, be sure to look into the staff-to-resident ratio. Be sure to keep an eye on this if you do move into the facility. If the residency isn’t holding up their end of the bargain (what you’ve paid for) that needs to change right away.
Agreements change over time. Be sure to know when payments are to increase and at what percentage they’ll go up. This typically takes place at the beginning of the year or sometime in the summer months.
The point is, you should read the fine print so nothing comes as a surprise later on.
Consider What Visitation Will Look Like
When it comes to how to narrow down a senior community, factor yourself into the equation, too.
What will visitation look like? Are you close to the community or far? And if, God forbid, you needed to get there in a timely manner due to an emergency, would it be difficult?
Successfully transitioning into a community center is a team effort. It might feel selfish factoring in your own needs. Not only is this normal, but it’s also practical and a good idea for everyone involved.
Consult Your Loved One
If possible—and of course, this isn’t always the case—involved your loved one in this process. This is going to be their new home, after all. Both of you will feel a lot better knowing they had some say in where they ended up.
If your loved one is suffering from an ailment that makes this difficult, ask about this when you call around. See if they offer memory care services and treat patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.
Finding the Right Care for Your Loved One
Finding the right fit, in many ways, comes down to your gut. How do you feel about the place? Where does it seem like your loved one will be happiest or best-taken care of? And as you narrow down the options, which great options fit your budget?
We know that comparing senior communities can be a challenge. But spending the time and doing it right is the best thing you can do for the loved one in your life.
Contact us today to request leasing information or learn more about our services.