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Tips for Making Assisted Living Choices

Like finding the perfect new home, selecting the right assisted living community can be a daunting task. Choosing the right assisted living residence requires an in-depth understanding of your loved one’s wants and needs, doing extensive research, touring properties, and seeking advice along the way.

Today’s assisted living communities offer residents a wide variety of care services and activities designed to meet the health care and lifestyle needs of their residents. It’s critical to do your homework…so here are a few tips that can help.

List the Wants and Needs of Your Loved One:
Start by making a complete list of needs and preferences. Because finding a 100% match might be unrealistic, consider prioritizing the list. If you are doing this for your parents, try using a series of short, unthreatening visits with your parents and siblings to develop the list. Here are some questions to think about:

  • Is it important to be near friends and relatives?
  • What types of health and personal care services are needed?
  • What activities and amenities are of interest?
  • Is a small or large community preferred?
  • Do you want a community that will allow your loved one to “age in place” by offering a wide range of services that can address future needs?

Do Your Initial Research:
Look at our list of Jacksonville area Assisted Living Facilities to see what is available in your preferred area and call them with your initial questions regarding your specific needs. Consider asking questions like:

  • Who owns the facility and are they financially sound?
  • How long have they been in business and can they provide you with references?
  • How many residents do they have?
  • What is the staff to resident ratio?
  • Do they provide on-going staff training?
  • Do they have experience dealing with the physical or mental issues of your loved one?
  • Are planned activities designed to meet the individual needs of residents?
  • Can friends and family visit and eat with loved ones?
  • What are the costs and what financial assistance do they accept?

Visit the Communities:
The most important part of the decision-making process is visiting the facilities that match the needs and wants that you’ve outlined. It’s a good idea to limit your visits to no more than two communities in one day and take notes so you can review the tour. When you visit:

  • Have a complete tour
  • Ask about resident nutrition, safety and security policies
  • Ask for a current activities Calendar
  • Ask about transportation to appointments, church, shopping and community events
  • Have a meal
  • Meet the staff
  • Talk with residents
  • If you like what you see on your initial tour, make additional visits at different times of the day

Make the Right Assisted Living Choice for You and Your Loved One:
Finally, meet again as a family group to review the choices and rate how they stack up against your checklist. As you compare costs, be sure you understand what the care packages include, what additional fees or costs may be assessed, and what funding options are available. There is no exact science to choosing an assisted living community, but careful research and informed decisions will help you find a place that you will be glad to call home.

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