3 major steps towards choosing the right assisted living community
Choosing the right assisted living community for your older loved one is not a decision to make lightly. If you’ve ever tried to have the assisted living conversation with your senior parents, you’ve probably encountered some resistance or even flat out denial that they would benefit from a senior community. Unfortunately, outdated notions around loss of independence or rigid schedules in senior living communities are still commonly believed.
The good news is that modern assisted living communities are full of independent, vibrant older adults who are living life to the fullest! If it’s time for you to choose a senior community for your loved one, we’ve outlined three important steps to take that can help you make the best decision for them, as well as your family.
How to determine your loved one’s senior living needs
There are different levels of care within assisted living communities, including:
- Independent living – Great for seniors who don’t need daily medical assistance and who don’t have major mobility issues. Independent living communities offer light housekeeping, help with laundry, a communal dining area for meals with friends, social and cultural activities, group excursions and events – to name just a few amenities.
- Assisted living – In assisted living communities, residents can receive around-the-clock care with things like dressing, bathing, medication management and getting from one place to another. Many of these communities also offer on-site physical therapy, weekly events for the whole family to join in on, and group activities like yoga, dance and meditation.
- Memory care – Designed for people with dementia conditions, memory care communities are secure, safe spaces that encourage residents to socialize, try new things, strengthen cognitive function and form new memories. Memory care advisors are trained in the latest dementia care practices and residents are supervised at all times in dementia-friendly spaces.
Narrowing down a senior living location
Once you’ve decided what type of senior living community is best for your loved one, it’s time to look at locations and ask some questions: Where does your family live? What are your loved one’s favorite neighborhoods? Is there a senior living community close to where they live now? What places does their doctor recommend? Is it important that they live in a community with a continuum of care?
Of course it’s ideal to choose a location that allows for frequent family visits, but be sure to consult with your family members and your loved one before deciding on the best location. You can also ask friends who live in your area for recommendations.
Plan a Visit to Experience Community Life at UMC
The best way to get a feel for what an assisted living community is like is to visit and take a tour. Many senior living communities will be happy to have you visit so you can see for yourself the amenities, the grounds, the different levels of care provided, the on-site care staff, and most importantly the other residents.
Pay careful attention and make note of what you see: Do residents look happy and healthy? Are the buildings and the grounds clean? Do you see people socializing and having fun? Are the apartments suitable for your loved one? Does the community seem safe and secure?
You can also encourage your loved one to participate in a group activity or sit in on a special event, so they can get an idea of what it would be like to live there. Their opinion is the most important, after all, so it’s essential that they feel comfortable and at ease.