Seven Steps for Finding the Best Assisted Living for your Loved One

June 15, 2022

You and your family have agreed that Assisted Living is the best option for your loved one. Everyone is on the same page, including your loved one, now what? 

The decision to make a move to an Assisted Living Community or Residential Care Home isn’t always easy.  Now that the family has arrived at that conclusion, how do you find a safe, clean place that your loved one will get the care they need and feel comfortable in the first time?

1. Prepare for the Move

  • If your loved one has a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy, find the policy or call the insurance company to get a copy. Find out the rules around activating the policy and open a claim.
  • Most states require a form from a doctor so the community understands the medical needs of your loved one.  This is often a requirement that must be met prior to move-in.

2. Decide on the requirements and preferences for the community – list the care needs, geographic preference, and budget.

  • When looking at the budget. Look at the resources coming in monthly as well as retirement savings. 
  • Then add in the preferences of your loved one; are they social, or would they prefer a home setting?  What sort of amenities would make them happy?

3. Consult a variety of resources so you can limit your search to the safest options.

  • Check out the American Health Care Association website for your state, most states have a website with a link to Assisted Living Communities available via area or zip code, along with a link to that state’s inspection reports.
  • Read Reviews
  • Talk to the local long-term care ombudsman office – this government entity resolves health, safety and rights of residents in assisted living and nursing homes.

4. Call the communities and homes in your area and talk with a salesperson.

  • Make sure each location matches your criteria.
  • Narrow your list down to at least  three communities, but no more than 5 (it becomes overwhelming).
  •  If the community meets your criteria, schedule a time for a visit or virtual tour.

5. When you visit, prepare a checklist of questions.

  • The salesperson will cover most topics during the tour, but you want to be sure you all your questions are answered. Each community is unique and you want to be able to compare communities with confidence.   
  • Once you narrow down your list, visit again for dinner; you’ll get a good feel for all of the residents and you can try the food.

6. Make the Move - Choose the apartment, pay the deposit, and request the contract.

  • Determine what belongings will fit in the new apartment. For the rest, decide what belongings other family members will take, what to donate and what to throw away. You may want to consider an Eldercare Move Manager.  Be sure you are not overcrowding the new apartment or studio. A crowded apartment is a fall risk.
  • Hire movers if you are not using a move manager.

7. Prepare for the Adjustment Period – no matter how perfect your loved one’s new community is, this new way of life is an adjustment.

  • Be sure to check in often; if something can be adjusted, call the proper person in the community to be sure that the community makes the change or changes.  
  • Many communities have ambassadors – residents who will introduce your loved one to others and help them get accustomed to the new surroundings. . Also, you can reach out to the Social Director to see if they will help your loved one meet people.
  • If there are still unsolved issues after a reasonable period, call the Executive Director

Don’t go it alone – Work with a Certified Senior Advisor®

Making the right care decision for your loved one can be a daunting task. There are so many options; the terminology is often unfamiliar and the terrain unknown. Senior Care Authority®  will streamline the process to make it easier for you to make informed choices and reduce the stress and pressure associated with such important decisions.

Our team of Certified Senior Advisors carefully inspects locations from mid-to-larger size communities as well as smaller, residential care homes. We meet the staff, residents, family members when possible. State reports are reviewed to advise you of any citations or complaints issued against a particular provider. We have comprehensive knowledge and experience with all facets of senior living, from Independent Living to Assisted Living, to Memory Care and Skilled Nursing.

Your Assisted Living Advisor will meet with you in person to discuss your options and then accompany you on visits to places that meet your criteria. We ensure that all your questions are answered and assist with paperwork and negotiations. The hallmark of our service commitment is that we are by your side every step of the way.

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