If you have an aging parent and the two of you have decided it is time to look for an assisted living community, you are likely feeling totally overwhelmed by all of the choices being presented to you. You of course want the very best for your loved one, but how can you know for sure that you are making the right decision? Before you do anything else, stop, take a deep breath, and realize that you don’t have to go it alone. Make a list of the different people in the lives of you and your parent that you can ask for input. For example, perhaps you have had some friends who have already gone through this process with one of their parents, or a trusted clergyman or doctor may have some advice for you.
Next, take some time to really assess what types of health services your parent is going to need, both now and in the future. Additionally, talk to your parent about any specific amenities they are looking for in a senior living facility. Write these needs down and make sure they are key talking points at any assisted living location you visit.
When you do visit facilities, do not limit yourself to certain locations simply because they are closer to where you live. If the best choice for your loved one is twenty miles away rather than one, wouldn’t you be more than willing to make that drive to see them?
When visiting, you should approach all facilities with a healthy dose of skepticism. Just because a building has marble floors in the lobby and beautiful gardens, it does not mean their level of care matches the glitz of the exterior. Be sure to take a tour of each facility, and ask plenty of questions. Be observant with what is going on around you. Does the staff seem pleasant? Do the residents seem content? If you see anything that you don’t like, trust your gut and move on.
Do not be in a rush to make a decision too quickly. It is advisable to visit at least three communities so you can compare and contrast them. If it’s possible, take your parent with you on all of your facility tours. If it is not, make sure they are included in the decision making process by reviewing everything you have discovered with them.
Finally, before you sign any documentation with the assisted living community you choose, be sure to read every last word and fully understand the terms. Consult with an attorney if you need to. Assisted living communities typically have a variety of pricing structures, and its critical you know what you are agreeing to so you are not surprised by increases or hidden fees down the road. Be sure your contract clarifies if you are locked in at your current rate, or if you can expect annual increases of a certain percentage. You want to make sure you have the proper financing in place for the care of your loved one.