THE ASSISTED LIVING SEARCH IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
Don’t let uncertain times stop your search for assisted living.
If you or someone in your family is considering an assisted living apartment or assisted living community — you shouldn’t allow uncertainty to slow or stop your efforts to choose the best assisted living community. Why? For one thing, the clock is ticking on preserving your independence. Typically, the best assisted living communities have a waiting list for their assisted living homes and apartments. The average wait time is 6 months. And with the options of virtual tours and virtual visits available to you now, there’s no reason to let precious time slip away without making progress on your search.
It takes time to compare
Choosing the assisted living community that’s right for your specific situation will likely take time for legwork and homework. Assisted living apartments, assisted living contracts, and assisted living facilities, in general, can vary broadly. Some are home to just a small number of people, and others may have hundreds of residents. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to assisted living communities. They vary in size, appearance, and the types of services they offer. There are also differences in the levels of assistance and care they offer and their associated costs.
Checking with your state or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) or visiting the websites of LeadingAge and Argentum (formerly the Assisted Living Federation of America), can help you develop a shortlist of assisted living communities in your area to compare. Once you have specific communities in mind, you’ll need to gather relevant information about each of them.
First comes research
Gathering information starts by calling to begin learning about the community’s location, size, types of services, and more. You can request brochures, a price list, a site map, and floor plans. You may also request copies of all documents that will need to be signed before admittance, including the residency contract. You can review everything carefully, bearing in mind that marketing literature and a residency contract are different in nature. The contract is legally binding.
When you’re ready, you should visit the community. In fact, you should have several visits over the course of time. Some of these visits should be unannounced on a weekend or in the evening. These visits, in addition to having your financial advisor and attorney review the occupancy contract, will provide vital information on which to base your comparisons. Then, of course, there are the costs of assisted living to consider. Medicare does not cover assisted living. Most people pay for these services out-of-pocket. And though some states cover certain services under Medicaid, for the majority of people, assisted living costs must be paid through private resources.
Questions in need of answers
When evaluating options for assisted living, there are questions that most people will have concerning the physical accommodations, amenities, and the level of service and care available. Then there are questions that probe a little deeper about the staff, their training and level of experience, the availability of clinical professionals on-site, and more. Finally, there are questions germane to your personal situation. You should spend time considering all this with your family to develop a checklist to keep in a notebook and refer to during an on-site visit or virtual visit. Here is a printable checklist from AARP on what to ask when comparing assisted living communities.
For a more comprehensive overview of key points to consider, as well as specific questions to ask when searching for the right assisted living community, refer to this Life Care Services article, How to Spot a Great Assisted Living Community.
Experience is everything
If you believe that you or a loved one could benefit from the environment and services of an assisted living community, don’t allow the uncertainty of any unexpected situation to squander your precious time. Call a Life Care Services community to arrange a personal virtual appointment. Life Care Services communities offer a continuum of care that will let you move in and out of care levels as needed, often at no additional cost. That’s guaranteed care for life. But if you prefer convenience and flexibility, and don’t find an entrance fee to be appealing, a rental retirement community may be the best choice for your needs.
As you explore your options, use our Find a Community locator tool. With over 140 rental and Life Care communities around the country, Life Care Services is sure to have the right option for you and your family.