How to Help Your Parent Choose the Right Assisted Living Community

Home healthcare nurse with senior adult patient. Hug.Helping your parent find the right assisted living community can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your parent. When you know what to look for during your community visit, you can focus on the experience and truly learn about each community, rather than worrying about whether or not the community is capable of fulfilling your parent’s unique wants and needs.

In helping your parent choose the right assisted living community, it’s your job to collect and supply your parent with all the necessary information for him or her to make the right decision. We’ll review the steps to help you find the right information and to get the most out of your community visits, so your parent can make the best decision possible.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Start your research online. Even just a quick Google search can provide you with plenty of information about the assisted living communities in your area. In your results, you’ll find customer reviews, information on services, blogs, news and more.

Based on the findings of your research, visit three or four community websites. Select ones that you are most interested in and complete the contact form, which can typically be found on a “Contact Us” page. The contact forms will allow you to set up an appointment or speak to a representative on the phone. If the website doesn’t have a contact form, call the phone number listed online. Be sure to request more information about the community, such as a brochure or information kit. These resources are a great way to supply your parent with information prior to the actual visit. Write down a list of questions that you both would like to discuss.

Step 2: Visit Several Communities

Every assisted living community is unique, so plan to visit several. From the very beginning of your visit, pay close attention to each staff member, particularly how they greet you and how they interact with residents.

Schedule a time to visit the community during the day for an accurate feel of what community living is like. Most retirement counselors will spend time talking with you so they can learn more about your expectations. This is also the time that you can begin to ask questions from your list. As the tour begins, ask what you will be seeing, try to spend time in areas where people are enjoying activities, visit the dining room and ask to share a meal with a few residents during your next visit. Talking with current residents about their daily experiences will allow you to determine the best fit for the lifestyle that will mostly closely match their expectations. Ask residents where they like to spend their time – both on and off campus.

Step 3: Observe, Investigate, and Ask Questions

Be critical of your visit to the community. Staff members should offer you warm welcomes, and be friendly, approachable, and personable. The staff members have the rare opportunity to work in an environment where people live, and their passion for their work should be evident. Ask residents if they are satisfied with services, amenities and activities. Shared spaces like hallways, dining rooms and activity rooms should be clean and bright.

When you visit, you also want to ask the retirement counselor for information about all fees, provisions, refunds and transfer policies. They should always communicate clearly and be transparent. Collect consumer disclosure information, and a list of all services and amenities. Be sure to ask which services and amenities are included in the monthly service package, and which ones come with an additional charge.

Step 4: Talk with Your Parent

Once you have completed your initial visits, choose two or three communities to visit again with your parent. Be sure to provide them the same opportunities to see the community and have lunch with existing residents. Determine a timeframe that you both can agree on for making a decision, followed by a timeframe for planning a move.

Step 5: Select a Community

Work with your parent to find out what they liked and didn’t like about each community, and make a final decision. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is for your parent to be happy and healthy in their new home, so their decision will be the one that is best for them.

For more information on how to help your parent choose the right Assisted Living community, contact Wesley Place on Honeysuckle at 334-792-0921.