How to Find an Assisted Living Facility | Tips for Touring Assisted Living Communities

Finding the right assisted living facility for your loved one is one of the most important decisions you can make. We’ve compiled the top elements to look for when assessing a senior assisted living community. During your visit, consider the quality of care that your loved one may receive. The decision of “if, when and where to move” resides solely with you and your loved one, so consider what factors are ultimately important to you.

Tip #1: Observe the Level of Cleanliness & Follow Your Nose
Does the community feel fresh and clean? Make sure to look past the furnishings and into corners, baseboards and windows. Ask how often housekeeping is provided in your personal living space. Make sure you get full details on the types of maintenance provided and the estimated response times. Don’t forget to ask about laundry procedures. Ask for specifics on what is available and at what cost.

Odors in the property may indicate a lack of cleanliness or a temporary problem. If you find smells concentrated to one area on your tour this most likely indicates a single, recent incident. Odors throughout the community most likely indicate a bigger problem. Always ask the manager what they think might be causing the problem.

Tip #2: Visit During an Activity
It’s a good idea to try and schedule your tour in conjunction with any community events. Ask the manager if you can watch the activities or even participate. Are the activities and events well attended? Does the staff seem to be enjoying the activity as well? Take a look at the community calendar of events. Do they match your or your loved one’s interests? Do the events and activities vary in size and type? Do they include trips and outings away from the community? If it is important to you and your family, don’t forget to inquire about religious services.

Tip #3: Pay Attention to Staff Friendliness
The attitude and friendliness of the staff are of the utmost importance. Make sure that you observe several staff members interacting with current residents. Do they listen and make eye contact? Make sure to get a good understanding of the staffing pattern. How many people are actually involved in residents’ care? Make sure you get an introduction to the management team. This will help you understand the goals of the property. It is important that you have confidence in the property’s staff.

Tip #4: Visit the Outdoor Areas
Everyone wants to be able to enjoy a nice sunny day outdoors. While visiting communities make sure to investigate the outdoor areas that are available to residents. Does the area feel safe and secure? Does the property house outdoor activities in these areas? Does the staff use the same area for their personal breaks?

Tip #5: Eat a Meal at the Property
As with most of us, the dining room experience is very important to seniors. When visiting communities it is important to discuss entree choices and learn about dining hours, options and procedures. Make sure you and your loved one enjoy a meal at the property. Not only is it a great way to sample the cuisine, but it also opens up a great opportunity to meet some of the residents. Discuss what happens if a resident is unable to make it to the dining room for a meal.

Tip #6: Ask Security & Safety Questions
Safety and security features are very important for the senior and offer peace of mind for the caregiver. Make sure that bathrooms are accessible and have grab bars in convenient locations. Ask how residents contact staff if they have an emergency in their living area. Find out about other safety features available in living quarters and throughout the community. Make sure you find out about staffing patterns to determine who is on-site at all times to assist residents. Are there registered nurses on site? How do staffing patterns differ at night? How does the community assist or manage residents’ medication needs? Don’t forget to ask specific questions about any other medical needs that must be met for you or your loved one.

Tip #7: Ask Questions About Personal Care
As you go through the tour process make sure you ask a lot of questions about personal care. Discuss bathing options and bathing preferences. It’s a great idea to observe the current residents while visiting communities. Are they clean shaven with well-groomed hair and nails? Are the residents dressed appropriately? Make sure to take into consideration what activities they are involved in and the current weather. Does the staff treat residents with dignity, respect and a smile?

Tip #8: Get Feedback From Residents & Families
Ask residents and families, past and present, for their honest opinions about the community. Many communities have a resident council that will be happy to answer any of your questions. A Place for Mom and have more than 40,000 reviews and ratings from families who have shared their impressions and rated individual communities.

Tip #9: Ask About Move-out Criteria
Most people do not enjoy moving multiple times and seniors are no different. Ask about specific move-out criteria. Under what circumstances is a resident asked to move out of the community? What type of notice does the resident or caregiver need to give the staff? In many instances a 30-day notice may be required by the property.

Tip #10: Trust Your Instincts
As you are touring make sure you think about yourself or your loved one actually living at the community. Do you imagine you or your loved one being comfortable? Do you feel at ease? Are the staff and residents open, inviting and friendly? Always remember to follow your instincts and your heart!

Living Independently

Bill Sheffield | Bill Sheffield Realty

You have spent your life helping others. You spent a life in the pursuit of making you and your family’s life as pleasurable as possible. Years of your time were spent at work. You raised a family and now watch them do the same thing. You had many many wonderful times with family and friends. You had many homes. It seems like yesterday that you moved into the first home you ever bought. Remember it? You pruned and painted and probably bought your first piece of nice furniture. You joined over 60% of American families as a homeowner.

Over time this grew to small and again you searched and found another home. Then another and another. Pruning and painting now is a skill. You were independent. Your family grew and you worked to keep them happy and pay for your home.

Remember the smells of all the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. The noise and confusion of kids growing up. The sadness when they left and the joy when they brought their kids to your home – again noise and confusion brought joy.

You filled your homes with furniture and fixtures and the last time you moved you thought would be your last time. But time has a way of making some decisions for us. You lived your life independent of others. You worked and paid for all the things life uses. You did this on your own, with help from friends and family in tough times, but mostly by yourself. You will stay as independent as your health allows. But time always catches up. Hopefully, this will cause you to give thought to Living Independently as long as possible.

Thought 1. Do you have too much home? Can you maintain it like you always have? Do you need as many rooms? Is the yard now just too much work? Can you afford to pay for the upkeep and cleaning? Is it worth the money?

Thought 2. Where would I go if I sold this home? Would I like to stay in a smaller home that would be easier to keep up? Should I buy another home or just rent? What is the current market value of my home? Is it time to investigate the option of an independent living facility?

You have always planned your next move. You sought the best advice, considered all your options, sometime let emotion help you decide and now are in a great secure place. Most likely your home is paid for or you have limited debt. You have plenty of options. There are many professionals available to you to help your decisions be objective. You either already know or need to know the best plan for the rest of your life. These are a few suggestions that hopefully will help.

  1. Get financial advice. Probably you already have a trusted financial advisor, but if not seek one to help you plan the best strategy.
  2. Get legal advice. Again, you most likely have an attorney, but do they specialize in trust and family planning.
  3. Get medical advice. This time listen. Have a heart to heart with your doctor and let them explain where you are health wise now and what you need to expect and plan for.
  4. Get family advice. Be honest with your family about your independence. Let them know how important this is to you and seek their help. Make them part of your decisions.
  5. Get lifestyle advice. Consult with Senior Caregivers to learn what options you have if you chose to stay in your home. Talk to landscapers to maintain your yard. Interview home cleaning services to make you comfortable in a clean home without the work. If you can afford to live comfortably in your home by investing in help to do so, it may be a great option.
  6. Get real estate advice. Find out what the current market value of your home is now. Go see some smaller homes to make sure they will work for you. Visit the Independent Living Facilities to see if this choice suits your lifestyle.

Living Independently is just as much a part of your life now as it was when you bought that first home. You got as much house as you could afford and made it fit your lifestyle – made it become your home. And really a home is just a house with a family being together. It is not the physical address, but the life lived in it. You have many options to be independent and truly live the life you want at whatever address your mail arrives.

What is Independent living for Seniors?

Homestead Village Retirement Community

Independent living for seniors is housing designed for those who are 55 years and older. These are also known as Retirement Communities or Independent living facilities. Typically you will find the residency to be more compact with floor plans that are easily maneuvered. Developments vary from individual homes to apartment style living to efficiency suites, with maintenance and landscaping included (utilities may also be inclusive). Other services that may be offered might include: meals, housekeeping, and laundry services. Amenities may include: swimming pool, fitness room, library, transportation and activities.

If keeping up with your home has become an overwhelming task, and driving has become increasingly more difficult, so your social life is suffering or you are just looking for more companionship, a Retirement Community or Independent Living Facility may be what you are looking for.

Is independent living right for me? Ask yourself the following four questions written by

1. How easy is it for me to maintain my current home?
Maintaining a home may be a longstanding source of pride for you, but it can also become a burden as you age. Perhaps your home has a large yard which requires constant maintenance, or maybe it’s becoming more difficult to clean those extra rooms that are rarely used. If your home is difficult to access, such as on a steep hill or up several flights of stairs, it may be harder for you to leave your home as often you’d like, leading to more isolation. Or increased crime may mean that your neighborhood is now too dangerous to walk around safely. Some of these challenges may be partially remedied by hiring outside help, remodeling parts of your home, or by other family members lending assistance. However, if you’d like a place that does not require a lot of maintenance and upkeep, independent living may give you more freedom and flexibility in the long run.

2. Is it difficult for me to connect to friends and family?
The more isolated you are, the greater your risk for depression and other mental health problems. You may have a difficult time getting out of the house, perhaps due to trouble driving or increased mobility issues. Or your friends and neighbors may be busy with other work or family commitments, or the neighborhood may not be easy to get around. While the phone and Internet can help, nothing can take the place of face-to-face human connection. Independent living facilities can give you a built-in social network of peers, while many also provide structured activities such as sports, arts, or field trips.

3. How easy is it for me to get around?
You may live in an area where you have to drive to attend social activities, visit friends, and shop. If you find yourself less comfortable with driving, you may find yourself relying more and more on public transportation or family and friends to get around. It may be harder to visit others, go to activities you enjoy, or keep doctors’ appointments. As well as onsite amenities, many independent living or retirement communities also offer convenient transportation options to outside activities.

4. How is my health (and the health of my spouse)?
It’s important to consider your current and future health. For example, if you have a health condition that makes it difficult to stay active and will most likely worsen with time, it’s good to consider your options carefully. It’s also important to consider the health of your spouse if you are married. Can you manage the activities of daily living, such washing, showering, and eating? Can you manage your finances? Can you manage medications and doctor appointments?

If you are needing only minor assistance with activities of daily living, independent living may be right for you.

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