Independent living communities are excellent options for many people that can be relatively independent in an apartment or cottage. They offer maintenance free living with many options to socialize with other independent seniors. There are generally many activities available and in many cases there are transportation services for those who no longer drive.
There are several different types of assisted living options to consider:
One is traditional assisted living in a larger assisted living community. In this type of community you traditionally have an apartment like setting with communal dining and larger activity options. This option is perfect for a person or couple that can still manage somewhat independently and is safe in an apartment.
A group home is an assisted living community that houses between 5-10 people and generally can provide a higher level of care than a larger assisted living community because of its size, staffing ratio, and the staff’s close proximity to all the residents at the community. Many Group homes can provide care at near skilled nursing levels in a home like atmosphere. This option is perfect for those residents that need a little more assistance or supervision. Group homes are generally less expensive then larger assisted living communities.
If you have substantial medical needs, you would need to consider either a skilled nursing facility or a specialized group home that can provide the level of medical care you need.
Memory Care is generally broken into several different types in assisted living. Larger communities with memory care units of between 15- 20 residents, stand-alone communities with larger populations and Group homes that specialize in memory care. Each option has its merits and the best option for each client is best determined by their individual needs and financial ability to pay.
A move to assisted living, even if all parties are in agreement, can be a stressful time. Here are some of the ways you can support a loved one:
Suggestions For Friends and Relatives
Source: National Center for Assisted Living
The most important factor when choosing an assisted living facility is that it feels friendly, safe, and comfortable to you. While the facility should be clean and well maintained, don’t place too much emphasis on surface appeal, such as designer furnishings, gourmet meals, and impeccable grounds. The facility you’ll be happiest at won’t necessarily be the most fancy or expensive. The bottom line is that the right facility for you is the facility where you feel most at home.
Does it feel like home to you? This is a personal preference. Do you prefer a smaller, cozier environment, or would you rather be in a larger, bustling place with more activities? Is outside design, such as gardens or other greenery, important to you?
Does the facility offer activities you’re interested in? Are there hobbies or activities on site, or transportation available to outside ones? Does the facility have amenities that are important to you such as a gym, recreation center, library, or a chapel?
Is the food appealing to you? Do you have the option of eating in your room if you would like to? What kinds of food are served? Is it nutritious and appetizing? Are their different food options available?
How are health problems handled? How does the facility handle both emergency and non-emergency problems? If you develop a medical condition, will you be able to remain at the facility? At what point would you be required to move elsewhere for medical care?
Is the facility in compliance with state and local licensing requirements? In the U.S., each state has different standards, so you will want to check with your local regulatory agency to make sure that the facility is licensed and in compliance. You can also check the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against the facility.
There is a huge variation among assisted living facilities. While this can make the process of choosing seem daunting, the plus side is that you have a good chance of finding a facility that is perfectly suited to your preferences and needs.
As you start your search, try not to get overwhelmed by all the options. Remember, amenities matter much less than the residents and staff. It’s the people that truly make any place, including an assisted living facility. You can tell a lot about a facility by the people who live and work there. You want a facility with an active social atmosphere—where the residents are friendly and the staff is caring and warm. Make sure that, overall, you feel the facility is a place where you will fit in and develop new relationships.
What to look for in the staff:
What to look for in the residents: