Most of us would rather remain in our own homes than move into an assisted living facility. Medical conditions, mobility issues, or fall risks sometimes mean we need the extra support, though. In fact, the National Center for Assisted Living counts more than 735,000 seniors who live in an assisted living home in the United States.
Luckily, today’s senior living options are much broader than they used to be. Modern assisted living facilities come in all shapes and sizes, with different amenities and levels of support. Choosing the facility that best suits your needs and interests can make the transition from home to an assisted living facility much easier.
The Assisted Living Federation of America publishes an assisted living checklist which helps seniors and their families to evaluate and compare potential new homes. It is a great resource for those planning to make the move. Other things to consider include:
- How many people live on site? Some assisted living facilities have 25 residents, while others have more than 100. A larger facility may offer more activities, while a smaller facility may get you more individualized attention.
- Will you be bringing your own furniture, or are the living areas already furnished? Can you bring your favorite chair? Sometimes bringing along the comforts of your old home make the adjustment easier.
- What about pets? No matter if you have a dog or a fish, a pet is a part of your family, and you most likely won’t want to leave it behind. It can also provide company if you are sad or lonely. On the other hand, if you have pet allergies, you may want to avoid a facility that allows pets.
- What recreation and activities do they offer? Pick up their calendar of events and see what matches your interests. Don’t forget to ask about things like exercise classes and swimming if these are activities that interest you.
- What are the procedures for housekeeping and laundry? Ask about the options for housekeeping and maintenance, and the procedures for maintenance emergencies. Will you be doing your own laundry, or is this service provided?
- What is the protocol for patient care? Even if you don’t need regular nursing care today, you may in the future. If you have specific needs, ask the management staff how these will be handled. Don’t forget to discuss any community management or assistance with medication.
- What is the food plan like? Sometimes an assisted living facility will have a stove in each apartment, while others don’t offer anything more than a microwave. Most do have a dining hall, though. Discuss the dining options and menus, and ask if they will allow you to try a meal before you make your decision.
- What transportation is available? Most places offer scheduled group outings, but it is also important to learn how to schedule individual transportation in case you ever need it.
Choosing an assisted living facility is a very important choice. The community will become your new home. For this reason, it is important to do your research and to choose the facility that best fits your needs.