An ideal time to move to an assisted living community is when an older adult is still active enough to participate in the process. The senior can visit communities and select the one that meets their needs and feels most like home. Moving before a crisis also gives the older adult time to settle in and get to know the team members at the community.
Sometimes, however, something unexpected occurs. A medical emergency or a change in circumstances requires the decision to be made in a hurry.
As an adult child or close family member, what can you do to make an informed, thoughtful decision about which assisted living community is best amid a crisis?
We have a few tips that can be helpful during this stressful time.
Helpful Tips for Choosing an Assisted Living Community in a Hurry
- Confirm the type of care: Before you begin the search, talk with your senior loved one’s physician or the discharge planner at the hospital to make sure you understand just what type of care is needed. Families sometimes assume that a nursing home is their only option when an assisted living community is actually a better choice.
- Determine a budget: If your family hasn’t discussed senior care before, you may not have discussed the older adult’s finances either. You’ll need to have some idea about how much money they have. While you can usually get a bridge loan to help pay senior living expenses until assets can be liquidated, it is helpful to know about their financial situation.
- Start the search online: Most assisted living communities have websites. Going online to learn more about the company’s mission, services, and amenities can save time. Create a list of questions that arise as you work your way through the websites. Once you have a few communities that look promising, start making phone calls. Ask about pricing, required contracts, and other items on your list.
- Check review sites: There are a variety of websites dedicated to reviewing senior living communities. While reviews shouldn’t be your only criteria, they can help you get the perspective of other residents and their families.
- Review state survey results: Assisted living communities are regulated at the state level. That includes complaints received from families. This is typically done through the state Department of Aging or the Department of Health and Human Services. Many states now publish survey results online. Before you move forward with personal tours, take time to review the state survey results for the past few years.
- Visit the top choices in person: Once you’ve done your homework, pick the top two or three communities to visit in person. Schedule an appointment to see the campus and meet the team. This is the best way to determine if the assisted living community is a good fit for your loved one. If you aren’t able to make personal visits yourself, enlist the support of a friend or even consider hiring a geriatric care manager.
- Try a short-term respite stay: One final tip is to consider a short-term respite stay. When time is short and a decision must be made, you can take advantage of an assisted living community’s respite care program. This short-term arrangement allows an older adult to stay at the community for a few weeks or up to a month. Your loved one will have access to the same care, services, and amenities as a permanent resident. It’s a great way to try out a community without making a long-term commitment.
Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you to learn more about assisted living or short-term respite stays!