One of the toughest decisions many people have to make is whether or not to place a loved one in assisted living.  Every situation is unique, so we can’t tell you if it’s time to make that move or not, but if you have come to the decision that it’s time to start looking, we do have some tips in finding a good place to take care of your loved one.

Close to Home

Convenience is one thing, but making frequent trips to a facility will make the resident happier.  You’ll also be able to keep better track of how things are going and, if you come frequently, keep the staff on their toes.

Get Feedback

Ask friends and families about any experiences they’ve had.  Dig deep, get the good and the bad.  If you don’t know anyone with a loved one in an assisted living facility, check reviews online.  And don’t just look at how many stars a place has; read through the reviews.  You’ll find that people experiencing problems tend to be more vocal, but sometimes negative reviews come from overblown issues.

Compare

Don’t commit to a place just because the person in the next cubicle over says they love it.  Take that into consideration, obviously, but do your due diligence and look at multiple options.

Investigate

Go check out the facilities you’re interested in.  Drop in unannounced so you can see how things work in normal circumstances.  Talk to the staff.  Talk to residents.  Did you see a particularly negative review?  Address it.  Don’t be embarrassed to ask tough questions.

Observe

Take it all in.  How are the common areas?  How are the individual rooms?  How do the staff interact with residents and with each other?  How does the place smell?  How’s the food?  What kinds of activities are there and are people engaged when they’re doing them?

Be Clear on Costs

Figure out what’s covered by Medicare or Medicaid.  What’s included and what’s not included in the monthly fee?  Does it cover three meals a day, or are some meals extra?  Do you have long term care insurance?

Listen to Your Gut

After making a list, doing your homework on them and investigating each one, what do you feel about each facility?  Is there anything nagging at you about any of them?  If so, address it again with the facility’s representative and see if that makes you feel better.  Make sure you’re comfortable with your decision, because your loved one’s comfort depends on it.

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