If you’re just beginning the senior living search for your parent or older loved one, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of options available. Although the senior living search isn’t always easy, following these steps will help you simplify the process and find the best fit for your loved one.
Understand your loved one’s care needs
The first step in finding the right senior living fit is to consider the type of care your loved one requires. There are a variety of senior living options available, and each offer different levels of services to meet the care requirements of older adults.
- Independent living facilities are ideal for seniors who can live independently with minimal assistance and desire a more maintenance-free lifestyle. Independent living options typically include senior apartments or smaller homes that offer older adults better safety, security, and privacy.
- Assisted living facilities are best for seniors who require extra support with some daily tasks, but don’t yet require the services of skilled nursing care. Assisted living facilities enable older adults to receive expert care and support 24-hours a day as needed, without losing their sense of independence.
- Skilled nursing facilities are residential care facilities that are best for those with chronic illnesses or health conditions that require full-time monitoring and care from licensed nurses.
Many families choose Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRCs, which include a continuum of care from independent living to skilled nursing and memory care, all in one location. This way, older adults can enjoy the comfort and familiarity of the same community as their needs change over time.
List “must-have” services and amenities
When you first start looking at senior living options, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the many choices available. Each senior living community will provide a list of services, features, floor plans, or amenities that vary among facilities. As you start comparing your options, take note of the factors that are most important to your family. For example, does your parent or loved one want to live in a faith-based community? Are activities that interest your loved one offered? Is the location close enough for friends and family to visit? Make sure the community you choose meets the needs and desires of your loved one.
Narrow down your options
Researching senior living communities online and looking at photos is a good start, but the best way to determine if a living option is right for your loved one is to go on a tour. Take the time to tour nearby communities and include your loved one if possible. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what life is really like for residents.