Common Mistakes When Searching for an Assisted Living Community
Making the decision to move your loved one into an assisted living community can be an extremely stressful and emotional experience, but the decision process does not simply end here. Once you and your loved one have determined that it is best for them to move into an assisted living community, you still have to select a facility that will meet all of your loved one’s needs, provide him or her with safety and care, and help them thrive during this next phase of their life.
While we know that people make these decisions with the very best of intentions, here are a few of the most common mistakes that we see when people are searching for an assisted living community for a family member or loved one.
Choosing for Themselves Rather than Their Loved One
Everyone has different tastes, and in many cases, an adult child’s thoughts about what constitutes a perfect assisted living community will vary significantly from their parent or other loved one who will actually be living there. These differences could encompass everything from aesthetic qualities of a community to services offered to the level of interaction that will take place with staff and other community members.
As such, it’s important to get a realistic picture of what community features are important to your loved one, and to do your best to adhere to your loved one’s wishes, rather than your own, especially as you start attending in-person facility tours.
Insisting on a Facility Close to Their Home
A lot of family members will want to choose an assisted living community that is close to where they live themselves, thinking that a closer proximity will encourage them to visit more frequently. Unfortunately, as we all know, life has a way of interrupting our best laid and well-intended plans. While this might not be a big deal in every instance, some families will choose an inferior facility that is located nearby instead of a better facility located further away. In cases like this, it’s important to continually remind yourself that ultimately, your loved one’s wellbeing is all that matters. If the best facility for them is close to you, then great! However, if this is not the case, you’ll want to make sure that you place your priorities in the right order.
Not Planning for the Future
Choosing an assisted living community is a stressful experience for both you and your loved one, and it’s not a process you are going to want to repeat every 2-5 years. As such, it’s best to think about this decision in the long-term, making sure that whatever facility you choose will be able to provide for your loved one’s current AND future needs.
For example, mobility may not be much of a concern for your loved one at the present time, but a lot can change in just a year or two. As such, this is something you will want to keep in mind as you look for an appropriate community, especially if you believe that this is likely to be a concern in the future.
Making Decisions Based on the Wrong Things
A fresh coat of paint and impressive staging can cover a multitude of sins in an assisted living facility, and it’s important that you look past the visuals when choosing the right place for your loved one. While you certainly want to take aesthetics into account when choosing the right community, this should be FAR down on your list after carefully examining the level of care your loved one will receive, investigating any possible complaints against the facility or recorded violations, and ensuring that the services offered by the facility can meet all of your loved one’s current and future needs.
Trying to Make this Decision without Any Help
No one expects you to be an expert at choosing an assisted living community, especially if this is the first time you’ve had a need to do so. As such, you should not hesitate to reach out for experienced help and guidance with this process. There are a number of free resources online that will help you look into the any recorded deficiencies with or penalties imposed against a given facility, like the “Nursing Home Inspect” tool provided by ProPublica. Additionally, our team here at SeniorAdvice.com has created a free checklist for what to look out for when touring an assisted living facility.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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