How to Start the Search for Senior Living for a Parent

By: 
Jill Pride, White Oaks Assisted Living and Memory Care

   If your senior loved one has decided it is time for a move to an independent or assisted living community, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed about how and where to start the search. It isn’t uncommon for families to struggle to decide what is most important to ask and how to make the best decision.
   Seven Factors to Consider in Your Search for Senior Living:
   1. Compatible Lifestyle -  Consider your senior loved one's lifestyle and the type of environment they are likely to feel most comfortable in. Does your mother enjoy getting dressed up for dinner? Or would your family member prefer a less formal, more relaxed lifestyle? As you visit and tour senior living communities, try to picture how comfortable your loved one would be at each one.
   2. Continuum of Care - Think about your family member’s needs today and how those are likely to change in the months and years ahead. If your senior loved one needs more care, will they be required to move again or can the community increase their level of care and services? Moving is difficult at any age, but especially so during retirement years or when there is a decline in health.
   3. Life Enrichment - A reason many seniors make a move to an independent or assisted living community is to be able to participate in life enrichment activities and community events. Ask to review the last few months’ activity calendars. Are there programs and outings your loved one would enjoy?
   4. Wellness - Being proactive with health and wellness is an important part of aging well. What does the community do to maintain each resident's well-being? Are programs offered that nurture the mind, body and spirit?
   5. Pricing - No one wants to base such an important decision on money alone. But rates are important. You want to make sure your loved one will be able to stay at the community for as long as they need to and not have to worry about running out of money after they are thriving in their new home. Be sure to clarify all of the expenses you should expect to incur, as well as how much rates typically increase each year.
   6. Caregiver Tenure - It is also important to ask how long caregivers have been on staff at each community. Continuity of care is a vital to each resident's well-being. If a senior housing community has an exceptionally high turnover rate, it might a sign of a management problem.
   7. Contract Requirement -  Make sure you inquire about the length of commitment you need to make. If your loved one isn’t happy at the community, will they be stuck in a long-term lease? Ask for copies of any documents you and your senior loved one will be required to sign. Review them carefully. It might be helpful to ask your attorney to go through them as well.

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The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Highway
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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