All homes are not the same and all assisted living communities are not the same, either: They each offer their own specialized care options and varied levels of care. At American House, we know choosing the right assisted living community for you or your loved one can be a daunting process — but we’d like to make things easier.
When searching for the best assisted living community, we urge you to take the following five steps:
1. SPRING A SURPRISE VISIT
Do some research and find a few assisted living communities to check out. Ask for recommendations from friends, family and co-workers. Once you’ve scoped out a few communities online or by phone, gathering information on prices, services and amenities, you can also visit their Facebook pages to see what others have to say.
Then, to really get a feel for the community, ask if you can make an unannounced visit or schedule a tour. Stay for a meal in the dining room to taste the quality of the food and see what the everyday dining experience is like. Pay attention to cleanliness, how the staff interacts with residents and whether residents appear relaxed.
2. ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
Arrive armed with a list of questions and don’t be afraid to demand answers! Ask if the community is licensed to do business as an assisted care center — and follow up with the state health department to confirm. Another important question to ask is whether there is security in the community.
Find out if there is a doctor on site or if you can receive care from your current provider. Ask if on-site physical, speech and occupational therapists are available — and if not, if transportation to your particular specialist is provided.
At American House, we know that figuring out what to ask can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list of the Top 16 Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community, along with the Top 10 Principles to Look for When Choosing a Senior Living Community.
3. FIND OUT ABOUT HIDDEN FEES
Some services offered by assisted living facilities are not apparent upfront, and fees related to such care are not always covered by services like Medicare or Medicaid. Long-term care insurance will often reimburse for assisted care, but you’ll have to check the terms of your policy.
Find out what exactly is included in your rate: Charges for medications given per day; admission or community fees; a la carte fees; rate raises. Use our list of the Top 16 Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community to help guide your questions about hidden fees.
4. ASK ABOUT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
According to the Fox Business article, Nancy Thompson — a spokeswoman for AARP — said many seniors overlook the importance of transportation when comparing assisted living communities.
While some communities have their own vans to transport residents to weekly trips and social outings, some charge extra for other trips — so ask what is included. At American House, we offer personal and scheduled transportation — including trips to malls, banks, grocery stores and pharmacies, along with trips to senior centers, museums and other group outings.
5. DOES THE COMMUNITY MEET YOUR NEEDS
Each person wants and requires different amenities — and with their assisted living communities. You may need specialized care, certain kinds of medical attention, plenty of socialization options or other preferences for your new home.
The best way to find out if a community fits your specific needs is to investigate several of them before deciding. That way, you can feel confident you made the best decision and move forward with getting comfortable in your new home!