When it comes to senior care communities, there are many options to choose from. It can be overwhelming to make a decision that will so greatly impact your ’s life.
Being as informed as you can and knowing what to look out for will help you find a community that not only provides quality care but suits your ’s preferences.
( ) Communities refer to options that provide a range of support for your , depending on their needs.
Some communities offer a continuum of care, meaning they allow your to age in place.
Knowing what are possible at a given option, can guide you in making the best decision for your . Keep in mind that there can be some variation between communities, depending on the state.
communities allow your to live in their own apartment in a building with other seniors and access to support and amenities.
They generally have access to:
One meal per day
In , your is responsible for their medications, bills, most meals, and either on their own or with the help of .
can provide your with assistance with some day-to-day tasks. residents also have their own apartments.
in can receive:
Assistance with medication management,
neighborhoods are specifically for individuals living with some kind of memory impairment that impacts their ability to safely live independently, such as . They provide support with all , oftentimes through cueing and encouragement.
neighborhoods have staff specially trained in . These neighborhoods are generally secured.
Independent and are typically considered social models of care, rather than models. This means the number of physical that they provide may be limited. They do not provide , but some may have medical within their community.
, also known as or , provide a higher compared to as well as skilled nursing services.
Individuals who may need significant transfer assistance such as a Hoyer lift, and sometimes even
, may find their needs best met in a . Skilled nursing services can include
Monitoring vital signs
Having a basic idea of what your may need can give you a starting point in determining the best fit for them. Individual communities may have different that fall under Independent and Assisted, but the staff at the community will guide you in the specifics of their facility.
Before you can begin touring communities, you’ll need the names of places to start. Consider talking with your ’s medical or friends and for personal recommendations.
Some families will work with a professional such as an
resource finder or a care manager to work with them personally to find a community.
Regardless of what type of care you are looking at, there are general themes to look at when making a decision.
Key areas to look at include: physical building, staff, engagement, and ability to age in place.
When looking for a
community, consider the physical building - this is likely permanent!
Is the building in a location that your likes? City or suburbs?
Is it close to you as the , that you can get there as needed?
Is the apartment size appropriate for your ?
Does your like the decor? Does it feel like home?
Is the building clean and well taken care of?
Trusting the is key as they will be the ones providing support for your .
Do direct care staff seem happy with their job? Are they interacting with residents?
What’s the average retention time for staff?
Does the sales manager seem to be working with you to understand your
Meals are an important part of the day seeing as they offer both nutrition as well as an opportunity for your to socialize with other residents. Look at the menu to see if it appeals to your .
Ask questions such as:
Can they accommodate special and restrictions?
How do they encourage residents to dine together, and how do they seat the residents?
Engaging in the community is a key aspect of improving . Socialization is often an area that struggle to access at home. Ask to see a couple of months‘ worth of activity calendars and take some time to talk with the activity director.
Are there activities that your enjoys? Do they have trips outside of the building?
What programming existed during any COVID19 lockdowns?
How is the calendar tailored to the resident’s interests?
How will staff approach your if they are apprehensive about engaging in activities?
How will staff facilitate relationships between your and other residents?
has or another form of dementia, are the activities appropriate?
The community will develop a which will outline the amount of assistance that your needs, based on their assessment.
should look at your ’s whole - not just their physical needs. Ask the team how frequently the will be reassessed and what factors go into the plan.
Unfortunately, a lot of care decisions come down to finances. Many expect private pay. or private insurance companies do not generally cover the cost of .
However, some communities do accept (especially ) or . Planning ahead can help avoid any surprises in the future. Ask questions such as:
Does the cost include all care? Or, is there a standard with the cost of care dependent on how much your needs?
What happens if your
runs out of money? Does the community accept state programs to help pay for care?
Each has variations among other communities. Other things to ask on your tour or informational session include:
Is there a ? And, is there a cost to being on the waitlist?
What are the responsibilities of versus ?
What and training are provided to staff to ensure a high ?
Who is the
(or resident advocate) for the community?
When looking for your ’s new home, it can be helpful to think about whether your has the potential to age in place in that community. Some communities may have a that they may not be able to provide. For example, generally cannot assist with .
However, a community may have , , and even all under one roof. Some communities may have agencies within the community that can provide one on one assistance if needed.
Finding a community for your can be an overwhelming process.
When possible, always start the process ahead of when your needs it so that you can take the time necessary to choose the best fit, where your can thrive.
Laurel McLaughlin has over a decade worth of experience in various sectors of the elder care field- home care, senior living, and non-profits. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is a certified dementia practitioner.
Ready Set Care is creating a community to provide guidance for anyone caring for an aging loved one.
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