Put on the Wait List? Here is What to Know About Waiting for a Spot in Assisted Living

Senior man communicating with female receptionist while women si

Each and every day, all around the country, there are countless senior citizens and their families who decide to enter into an assisted living facility to get the care and attention that they need. However, with more and more baby boomers transitioning to senior care, many of these communities just simply can’t house every individual who wants to reside in their facility. This is why each and every day there are countless seniors who are also put on what is known as the “waiting list” for these assisted living facilities.

This can be very frustrating for seniors and their families, especially those who are in desperate need of 24-hour care. If you or your family member has found yourself on a waiting list at one of these assisted living facilities, here are some important facts you need to know about being told you need to “put your name on the list.”

  • Make sure you read the fine print. Different assisted living facilities are going to have different policies about wait lists. Not all communities are the same. Some place will give you 24 hours to say “yes” to an available unit, while others may hold a place longer until you can make arrangements. Make sure you go over the details before putting yourself on the list.
  • Be ready to pay a deposit. Most waiting lists require a significant deposit for those who want to be on the waiting list. The good news is, most of these deposits are completely refundable.
  • You can consider moving into a facility at an apartment you don’t necessarily want and then getting on another waiting list until the right unit becomes available. Sometimes, this is the best tactic available for those who want to make sure they can get in somewhere in a certain facility, before they worry about getting into the right
  • You can typically reserve the unit you want. Most facilities allow potential residents to get on the waiting list for a specific unit, if you can wait, you don’t necessarily have to take the first apartment that becomes available when it is your turn.
  • There are sometimes internal wait lists to compete with. You may be a certain number on a facility’s external wait list for an apartment or room, but it doesn’t mean that you are as close in line as you think. Many facilities also have internal wait lists of residents who are waiting to move units or to move to a different specialty care ward.

When visiting any assisted living facility, it is typically smart to assume that you are going to have to get on a wait list. Nearly half of assisted living facilities today are at capacity and it can be almost impossible for them to give potential residents an exact timeline on when a spot is going to open up. While waiting lists are usually par for the course when it comes to finding assisted living facilities. However, with a better understanding of what these waiting lists entail and how the lists commonly work can only help you be better prepared to handle the wait list process.

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