Are you facing a decision about where your senior-aged parent or spouse should live? Moving into a nursing home or assisted living community is a massive step for many families—and one that requires careful consideration.
Many new assisted living facilities have opened up in response to the growing demand for elder care, and the sheer number of options can feel overwhelming. Not only do you need to find a place that provides the appropriate services, but you also need to find a community you can trust.
While no one-size-fits-all solution exists to finding the right assisted living or “nursing home near me,” this guide should help you get started.
Factors to Consider to Narrow Down Your Options
Your Loved One’s Wishes
The most crucial factor to consider when looking for assisted living is what your loved one needs and wants. Needs should be the number one priority, as they will influence the level of care you’ll need to find. It’s also essential to consider wants —your family member is moving to this facility for the foreseeable future, and it’s vital that they enjoy their experience as much as possible.
Services and Amenities
When considering needs and wants, be sure to plan for the future as well as look beyond your loved one’s current situation and needs. For instance, if your family member is in the early stages of dementia, consider a long-term care facility that offers specialized levels of care that can accommodate changing needs over time.
While some amenities aren’t essential, they’re often what sets an excellent assisted living facility apart from an average one. Many communities offer linen services, daily activities, wellness programs, and complimentary transportation.
Unfortunately, your choice will often come down to what you can afford. When asking about rates, get information about hidden costs, extras, and expected annual rate increases to get an accurate picture. Many communities have a nonrefundable upfront community fee or investment, a monthly room, and board rate, plus add-ons for higher care and medication management levels. Hair salons and physical therapy are usually additional.
Outside Sources of Information
Visiting your chosen assisted living facility in person is essential in deciding on the best community. However, many homes will present a “sales front” to entice residents, but it may not represent the entire experience. Consulting outside sources will provide a more unbiased and nuanced view of the facility, including what daily living feels like and whether it’s the right spot for your loved one.
State Inspection Reports
States must regularly inspect assisted living and nursing homes and evaluate them according to several criteria, including safety, staff-resident interactions, resident care processes, and the overall environment. Typically, most communities undergo one annual inspection, but problematic communities may receive significantly more visits from the state.
While these reports provide an unbiased view of an assisted living facility, they may be outdated when you read them. Poorly managed homes will often undergo a management team change after a negative inspection, and the new team may have a completely different approach.
Online reviews are an excellent place to get an overall impression of a facility. Focus on general trends instead of one or two very positive or negative reviews, often biased and not an accurate reflection of the facility. However, if you notice multiple reviews pointing out the same benefits or drawbacks, you can gain more honest insights into the community.
You can also ask friends or neighbors for recommendations. Your senior family member may even have friends in a particular home, providing the dual benefit of an unbiased review and knowing that your loved one will have social support when they move in.
Trust Your Instincts
Research and visits can only go so far in determining whether an assisted living community will be the right fit for your loved one. The only way to ensure your family member’s happiness and well-being are to trust your gut and keep a close eye on your elder family member’s care.
Colonial Oaks Senior Living is a family of assisted living facilities operating in several states. Contact us to schedule an appointment and find out if we’re the right fit for your loved one today!