Finding the right assisted living home is so much more than just looking at price. While cost is certainly a factor, price alone won't make you happy. Finding an assisted living home that makes you feel safe, comfortable, vibrant, healthy and engaged is what you should be focused on.
So what should you be looking for? Here's a list of 12 things, other than price, that should check the box of any assisted living home your considering for yourself, a spouse or a parent.
12 Things to Look For In An Assisted Living Home
1. Stay in the Neighborhood
Living close to family and friends makes it easy for them to visit and pick you up so you can easily attend family dinners and celebrations. It also makes it easier to keep routines with hairdressers, social clubs, community centers, libraries and religious services.
2. Can you come and go as you please?
Some assisted living communities have restrictions on when you can come and go. If you're more independent, and want to be able to party till all hours of the morning, make sure there's no curfew!
3. Are visitors allowed?
If you want your kids, grandkids and even great grand children to visit, make sure they're allowed. You may also want to check if they have a party room, if you want to host friends or family gatherings!
4. Do services meet your current needs?
Don't compromise on the services you need to help you with your activities of daily living. If you do, and you find out you can't live without the bathing help you need, it will likely mean moving once again, which is not ideal.
5. Are services available as your needs change?
You'll want to find a home that offers a continuum of care. As your needs grow, whether it be for assistance with activities of daily living like help with medications, dressing, bathing or toileting, you want the facility to be able to grow with you.
6. How do you feel when you walk into the residence?
Trusting your gut is important. If you don't get a good feeling when you visit, and everyone's doing their best to impress you, chances are it won't get any better. Does it have a lively, energetic feel, or is it somber and morose. Are people engaged and happy or do they look lonely? Trust your gut.
7. What's the ratio of men to women, and the average age?
You certainly don't want to be the only man or only woman in the facility. Like it or not, if you want to be social, many friendship groups, still tend to be gender based. That said, finding a love interest is not unheard of either!
8. Does the programming interest you?
Programming refers to activities organized by the facility. Take a look at the schedule and see if there are a lot of activities and if they suite your interests. You should also look for facilities that arrange outings to museums, movies, shows, the mall, etc...
9. What are the sizes of the apartments?
While chances are you're in for a downsizing, it doesn't mean you should feel like you're living in a show box either. That said, remember that many assisted living communities will encourage you to spend time in the common areas.
10. What's included in the rent?
Make sure you get what you pay for. Many assisted living communities offer a la cart services. Just make sure you're not expecting anything in the base rent, that is in fact an extra charge.
11. What is required to break the lease?
Don't sign a long term lease or a lease with significant penalties for cancelling early. First, if you don't like it there, you want the flexibility to leave. Second, if your health condition changes, you want the flexibility to leave at your own discretion.
12. What's the reputation of those managing the facility?
This is important. Interview the management. Get a good feeling about them. Be a sceptic. Verify their promises and verify their reputation. Check them out online. Ask to speak with residents and their family members.