Choosing a senior living community can be an intimidating process for both seniors and their families. As the number of options for senior housing continues to grow, so have our expectations for what it means to receive quality care in our golden years. But with so many choices, how do you determine whether or not a community is right for you or a loved one?
Before you begin your search, consider some of the most common mistakes families make when choosing a senior living community.
Mistake #1: Not Thinking About the Future
Let the current and future health needs of your loved one guide you in your research and decision-making. If you anticipate that your loved one will require additional, more specialized care in the years ahead, be sure the community you are considering has the staff and provides the necessary services to meet those needs. Otherwise, in later years, you may find you need to move your loved one out of a community where they’ve made a home into a different environment altogether; this is not only costly for you, but may prove disruptive and distressing for a senior.
Mistake #2: Not Looking Past the Facade
Remember, a beautiful facade, plush carpeting, and plenty of greenery is not an indication of quality senior care. In addition to visiting the community you are considering, take time to research its history, including any past issues or violations, with the assistance of your local long-term care ombudsman. When visiting a community, spend some quality time with its residents and staff. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Observe how people interact with each other. You may not be around to witness how the staff responds to an emergency, but during an extended visit, you should be able to get some idea of the level of trust that exists between the community’s staff and residents.
Mistake #3: Not Reading the Fine Print
Contracts for assisted living and memory care communities are designed to be easily understood, but fine print exists in every legal document. Before you sign, be sure you understand the community’s particular pricing structure and any and all costs related to the care and services for your loved one. Be aware of any additional fees besides room, meals, and personal care, such as a one-time entrance fee, fees for laundry service, and/or fees for the delivery of medication and other supplies. The cost of care and services are typically increased annually, sometimes well above the rate of inflation. Finally, if you don’t entirely understand what you are signing, or even if you think you do, consider having a qualified attorney review the contract.
Mistake #4: Not Asking for Help
It may be you are the one family member willing to take on the task of finding a senior living community for a parent or grandparent. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out for suggestions, advice and support from others who may be familiar with making such an important decision. Other family members can be helpful, but consider asking for guidance from other people whose opinions you trust, including:
- Friends who have been through the process of choosing a senior living community
- Members of your loved one’s care management team
- Your loved one’s doctor, nurse or other caregivers
- A local senior living or eldercare advisor
Senior living advisors through the organization A Place for Mom provide their services free of charge.
PinPoint Senior Living
Located in Houston, TX, PinPoint Senior Living creates innovative communities across the U.S., including four in progress in Lubbock, El Paso, Santa Fe and Amarillo, to enhance the lives of seniors. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology and building design, we strive to provide each resident with a connected, active and purposeful life. If you are in the process of seeking out an assisted living or senior care community, contact us today. We offer tours of our communities, and are ready to answer your questions.