Choosing an Assisted Living Community

Do you need help with activities of daily living—such as bathing, cooking meals, cleaning house—yet you are looking to remain as independent as possible?

Assisted living may be right for you. Assisted living communities provide round the clock care and support. A good community will put together a personalized plan just for you that combines the best of living independently while receiving personal care services.

Assisted living communities are residential, generally offering apartment living. You will also benefit from common dining areas and other amenities such as workout facilities, activity areas, lounges and beauty shops. Be sure to ask what amenities are offered and included. Services typically include housekeeping, laundry, transportation, security, and emergency call systems. Each state has its own licensing requirements for these communities, so be sure to check with your state to see what services can and should be provided.

When you choose your new home, take the time to get to know—and to observe—the residents and staff at each individual community. Their interactions can tell you more about the community than a mere list of amenities and services. Watch to see if the residents appear to be happy. Are they interacting with each other and do they seem like people that you would like to get to know? Watch the staff as they interact with the current residents. Do they appear interested in you and your needs – or do they appear rushed? Are they positive and courteous to the residents?

Ask the administrator about their credentials and licensure to verify that they are up to date. Ask the administrator about the staff, too. Find out if they use professional nursing services on site, or if they use a home health agency. You should also ask about physical or occupational therapists. See what kinds of training and qualifications are necessary for the different types of staff.

Be certain to check out the dining area. Ask for a copy of one of their menus. If you have a special diet, ask whether they can accommodate your needs. Find out what the guidelines are for guests and for dining in your room.

It’s also a good idea to review the current activity calendar to find out the different recreational and spiritual activities that are available.

Consider the community’s location. Will it be easy for family members to visit? Is it close to your doctor and hospital, shopping and entertainment centers?

Finally, you should also learn the costs and fees associated with living in the community. What is included in the basic monthly cost? Are there fees for extra services? Would these fees be subject to change? Find out about security deposits and refund policies, along with whether your agreements and contracts can be modified.

The most important thing is to find a community that you will be comfortable in. It’s going to be your home, so it needs to be a good fit for you.