The term “assisted living” is one you may have heard before, but might not understand what it means. Until they need an assisted living community for an older loved one, most people don’t spend a lot of time getting to know the senior housing industry.
That can change very quickly when an elder you love needs extra care. This is the time of year when many adult children begin the search for senior care.
The holiday visit home to see an aging parent is often the catalyst for realizing they aren’t safe or happy living alone. To help you avoid making a mistake, we’ve pulled together a few things you should know when it comes to finding a senior living community.
What to Know About Senior Living Communities
- Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home: The first tip is to understand an assisted living is very different than a nursing home. Sometimes the fears created by outdated nursing home stereotypes keep seniors from making a move to an assisted living community. These communities are vibrant living environments designed to help seniors age successfully. They allow older adults to maintain their independence, while still having staff close by when extra support is needed.
- Good Economic Sense: Seniors and adult children often think assisted living communities are more expensive than they truly are. When you factor in how much you save on utilities, home maintenance, appliance repair, landscaping, lawn services, snow removal and food expenses, you can see how living at home — even when the mortgage is paid off — can still be expensive. When an older adult needs to hire an aide to assist with laundry, housekeeping, and transportation on top of other expenses, it becomes easier to see the value an assisted living community offers.
- Communities are Regulated: A persistent myth is that assisted living communities don’t have very strong regulations in place to protect residents. In fact, they are licensed and regulated at the state level. Each state establishes its own regulations and conducts regular surveys of communities to be sure they are in compliance. Communities must make their survey results available for visitors to review. In some states you can even look the survey results up online.
- Not All Equal: Don’t make the mistake of assuming you only need to visit one community because they are all alike. They are not. This is why you need to spend time visiting and touring a minimum of two or three communities before you make a decision. Investigate their commitment to senior nutrition and dining services. Explore their philosophy on aging and wellness. Get to know what makes them different and then decide if the community’s culture is a good fit for you or your senior loved one.
Our door is always open for seniors and adult children who have questions or would like to arrange a tour. We invite you to call or visit the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you for more information.