Starting the process of finding an assisted living community means you’re going to have a lot of questions. Whether you’re familiar with senior care or not, the research process can be quite overwhelming in the beginning. So take it one step at a time and consider the following five questions as you start your process.
1. What Are My Needs?
What are you going to need in the future? This question covers a wide range of topics, from what items you will need to take with you during a move to an assisted living community, to what amenities you require from the community.
As far as belongings go, know that you will probably need to downsize. Consider which larger items like furniture that are necessary for you. Is there a chair that is easy for you to get in and out of? Are you going to use a dresser or try to make use of closet space only? Do you have heirloom furniture that is special to you? You may have to make arrangements to store some of your items if you have several large ones that won’t fit in a smaller living space.
What amenities do you need at an assisted living community? Will you need laundry service? Help with medication management? Do you want to find a community that offers several different social opportunities between residents? Think about what you like to do as far as hobbies. When you visit different assisted living communities, apply those places to your daily life and choose the one that offers you the most that you need.
2. How Much Will It Cost?
Depending on your needs, the right assisted living experience for you may cost more or less than what the next resident may need. Consider costs. What are you comfortable paying? Do you have a maximum price that you can afford? Are there amenities that cost extra that you can go without? Are you eligible for any type of financial assistance programs? Assisted living has a different cost, depending on what state you live in. Reference the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey for state-specific information on several types of long-term care.
3. What Activities and Amenities Are Available?
When it comes to choosing the right assisted living community for you, you’ll need to consider what your needs and likes are. As you go on tours of each community in your area, think about all of the activities that you enjoy. If you like walking or gardening outside, look for a community with an outdoor area that suits you. If you like reading or quilting, try to find a community with a club for residents who share your same hobbies. If cooking is important to you, pay close attention to the kitchens in each community. Remember to focus on what you need, not on what your loved ones suggest. They want the best for you, and while their suggestions should be appreciated, they do not have to dictate what you ultimately choose for yourself.
4. Where Is the Community Located?
Location is important for several reasons. Do you want to be close to loved ones? Do you plan on moving out of the city or staying close to where you currently live? Are there certain businesses that you want to be close to as well? How safe is the area around the community? Do you want to be within walking distance of places you want to go? Will you be using public transportation or your own vehicle? If you choose public transportation or walking, you will need to know what is near the assisted living community that you choose.
5. How Is Health Care Approached?
Once you have narrowed down your search, consider what type of health care you need and the health care services that the communities you are looking at offer. What types of residents are already living at the community? Ask how medications are managed at each community. Is there a pharmacy located at or near the community? Are there specialists on-call at the community? Is there a resident doctor? What health care services are nearby? Make a list of health care concerns and needs and take it with you on tours of assisted living community. Ask residents and employees alike about the health care offered in each community.
For additional questions to consider when looking into assisted living, download a copy of the Cottages’ printable assisted living checklist.