The health and safety of residents are the most important factors to consider when comparing assisted living facilities, but it’s also important to balance these factors with a fun and comfortable environment. Ideally, a retirement community should meet both an individual’s physical and social needs. To make sure you (or your parent) are properly cared for, complete these steps before making a retirement decision.
Commit to Researching
The key to finding the right assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one is to begin researching possible facilities ahead of time. The leading reason for assisted living placement is major health decline. In many cases, families are caught off guard by a sudden health transition and forced to scramble to find a suitable place for their senior. Consider an assisted lifestyle early and make a careful decision to ensure security and success in your new home. It is also beneficial to form a financial plan and estimate a budget before your search. Senior care can be expensive, especially for residents who require specific healthcare services. Be sure to research the costs associated with certain health concerns and include them in your estimate.
Prepare for the Transition
Adjusting to life in a retirement community can be difficult at first, so take the time to prepare yourself or your elder for the transition. Assisted living is usually group oriented and can seem strange to someone who is used to independence. The best way to alleviate initial culture shock is to work on accepting the realities of your new environment before moving in. Make multiple visits and interact with current residents and staff. It’s also helpful to create an activity schedule for yourself. Most places will offer a wide array of activities for individuals of varying physical ability.
Consider Specific Needs
When choosing assisted living, it is important to consider your, or your loved one’s, specific needs. If you are looking for couple-friendly retirement, your needs and preferences will be much different from a single retiree or an individual who requires special care. Many retirement centers don’t offer two-person rooms, and they are typically more expensive where they are offered. Other places are more assistance oriented and concerned with health. These may not offer the degree of independence or types of activities you enjoy, so identify your needs and wants early to help you narrow your choices and direct you toward the best and most comfortable environment for you.
Factor in Health Decline
Lastly, don’t disregard the possibility of changes in your health when choosing your new home. Independence may be a key component in your decision-making process at the moment, but the idea is to set yourself or your loved one up in a long-term retirement arrangement. It is a good idea to consider your health problems when touring your options. You could also have a discussion with your doctor about possible future issues and ask for advice or recommendations.
If your healthcare provider recommends a facility, that’s a good place to start your search. You can also ask your peers for leads, or do an online search. Call and ask to schedule a tour and consultation at multiple places before deciding on one.