Assisted living is the perfect next step for older family members that generally function fine independently but require assistance with some aspects of daily life. Typically with activities like cooking, housekeeping, taking medication, etc.
With so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to pick just one. So, here is a list of factors and considerations you should mark off when picking an assisted living facility.
Cost of Living
Whether or not you can afford a particular assisted living facility is one of the major factors and something that you’ll have to consider first. Narrow your list to the facilities you can afford first, then evaluate your options based on the other factors.
Most nursing home residents are entirely covered by Medicare, but depending on the policy, it may only cover long-term care, not assisted living. However, long-term care insurance may help pay off assisted living.
Location of the Facility
The location obviously matters because you’ll need to keep your loved ones as close to home as possible. It’ll make visits a lot easier and quicker. Ideally, look for every assisted living community within a 45-minute drive. Anything over 2 hours would be too much and will likely reduce your visits.
It’s also worth considering if the facility is close to other family members that might visit often as well. Additionally, the facility should be located in a safe neighborhood, somewhere near a good hospital.
Size of the Community
Facilities vary a lot in terms of size with some smaller communities harboring about 5-10 beds while larger ones tend to have close to 100 beds. In the case of large facilities, the staff-to-resident ratio matters a lot. Each staff member shouldn’t have to manage more than 3-5 residents at a time.
Size also significantly affects the services and amenities the facility can provide. Large communities tend to offer resources like swimming pools, restaurant-style dining areas, and plenty of social opportunities.
The Services They Provide
When your family member is permanently transitioning, you’ll realize certain services are invaluable for both of you. You’ll need to find a facility that understands this and puts individual services first on its list of priorities.
For instance, you’ll need to look for a place that provides:
- Transportation to doctor appointments
- Fully trained and registered nurses
- Access to physical therapists and physical activities
- Counseling services to ease the mind
A good assisted living facility will also typically offer housekeeping, wellness programs, medication management aid, dining services, and specific services based on the resident’s needs.
Transition to Skilled Nursing
Since you’ve already started to look into assisted living, you’ll need to think of the step that comes after it and what services the facility provides that can help with that transition. A lot of assisted living facilities are linked as a part of a broader continuing care community.
So, a facility that allows you to easily move to skilled nursing care when needed is something to consider. That way, you can use assisted living as a checkpoint before moving on to a long-term plan.