Assisted living communities provide 24-hour care for seniors who need help with daily tasks — such as dressing, grooming, and medication management — but don’t need ongoing skilled medical services. Assisted living facilities offer a maintenance-free lifestyle that includes restaurant-style meals, wellness programs, housekeeping services, and opportunities for social activities and outings. Some assisted living communities also offer amenities such as gyms, beauty salons and barber shops, and space for gardening.
Assisted living facilities come in many styles, from resort-like to smaller, more intimate residential communities. Residents at assisted living communities choose from different rooming options — such as private or shared studio, one-, or two-bedroom apartments, often with private bathrooms and kitchenettes.
Asking yourself and others questions can help determine the right time to transition your aging parent to an assisted living facility. Consider whether your loved one can manage personal care and medications on their own, whether they’re safe in their home, and whether they would benefit from a more social and engaging lifestyle. Also weigh your own mental and physical health.
Many families struggle with talking to senior loved ones about leaving their long-time home and moving to senior care. Keep them as involved as possible in the planning process and be sure to let your parent know their safety is your main priority. Key factors to improve the senior care conversation include: emphasizing that you want what is best for your parent’s safety, picking an appropriate time and place, and, whenever possible, keeping the senior involved in each step of the planning process.
Assisted living costs vary depending on location, community amenities, apartment size, and how much assistance your loved one needs. You can save money on assisted living costs by carefully weighing the benefits of all-inclusive vs. a la carte care services and asking about move-in specials or other discounts.
While Medicare does not pay for assisted living, there are many financing options to help pay for assisted living, including veterans benefits, long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, and more.
There are many factors to consider when searching for an assisted living facility for your loved one. Top considerations may include safety, staff expertise and training, location, cultural fit, and available amenities and activities.
An in-person or virtual tour is great way to get a sense of the community. It provides a window into a resident’s daily life, allowing you to see or experience activities, meals, amenities, and staff interactions with residents. Ask about community licensing, staff-to-resident ratios, staff qualifications, and emergency procedures.
Moving and downsizing can be stressful, especially when your loved one is leaving a home filled with memories and possessions where they’ve lived for decades. There are steps you can take to help make the move and transition to an assisted living community smoother.
Hiring a senior move manager to assist with downsizing and coordinating the actual move, and selecting a moving company that specializes in moving seniors to assisted living can help.
Adjusting to life in an assisted living facility after moving may take several weeks. You can help make your loved one’s transition easier by setting up their apartment with furniture and belongings from their old home. Creating a plan to stay connected with your loved one after the move will also help them better adjust.
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