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3 Steps to Finding the Best Senior Care Facility for a Loved One

Senior Advisor
By Senior AdvisorSeptember 14, 2016

Many seniors reach a point in their lives where they simply can’t manage all their daily tasks alone. When that day comes, for most families the best move is to help them find a quality senior living facility where they can make a new home.

It’s a hard decision and the stakes are high. You want your loved one to be happy, and many seniors are resistant to the idea of leaving their home behind for assisted or senior living at first. If you take time to find the right facility however, the transition will be much easier and your loved one’s chances at long-term happiness should stay intact.

Steps to Finding the Best Senior Care Facility

To make the right decision, you should take a few steps that can help you hone in on the right senior care facility for your loved one.


1. Figure Out Your Budget

First things first, you need to know what you can afford. Sit down and do the math. How much does your loved one receive each month in social security? Do they have a pension or VA benefits? How much do they currently have in their retirement accounts? If necessary (and feasible for you), how much can you and other loved ones contribute?

Use those numbers to work out what they’re able to spend monthly on a facility. If you have long-term care insurance or are eligible for the Aid and Attendance Pension, then look into how much that will cover in monthly assisted living costs as well.

Assisted living is an expense a family has to plan for, so after tallying everything up, don’t be surprised if you still come up short. If your loved one owns a home, then selling it could help you make up the difference.

2. Research Your Options

While the costs of senior housing itself are high, the resources available for researching senior care facilities are usually free.

A number of websites collect information about senior care services so you’ll have an easier time identifying the main amenities, activities and services you need to ensure the happiness of your loved one. These sites provide great information including, but not limited to:

  • Pictures of the common areas, grounds, rooms and more
  • What amenities are included at each facility
  • What current and past residents have to say about their experience
  • What’s available in your price range
  • What specialized services are offered

While each of those items should shape your search, the reviews are one of the best resources you have for getting an accurate picture of a facility. But if anything, you’ll find that there are too many places to read reviews of assisted living homes — unless you have a lot of time to give to it (and who has ample free time these days?).

There are several services available that specialize in helping you with your search. Most of them offer free services but do differ in how and how well they assist families during this difficult decision.

A Place for Mom and OurParents earn the strongest reviews of the bunch, but you can peruse the feedback yourself to better determine which site will be best for you. If you’d like to talk to someone that knows the senior facilities first hand, then a service that offers Senior Living Advisors who will help you better understand the options in your area.

3. Tour the Facility

Your research will help you narrow down your options, but you shouldn’t make a decision based on internet research alone. The only way to really get a feel for a facility and ensure it’s the right choice for your loved one is to go visit it together.

Most of the above-mentioned companies can help you set up tours of facilities of your choice. But if you are doing this search on your own, call the facility to set up a tour of each assisted living home that made it on your shortlist. While you’re there, be sure to walk the facility, check out the living quarters, and talk to some current residents to get their take on the place.

You wouldn’t buy a house without doing a walk-through, so you should definitely do the same for any senior living facility you consider before making a commitment. You want to feel confident the place is somewhere that your loved one can live comfortably and happily.

Once you find an assisted living home for your loved one that’s a good fit, you can help them make the move while knowing that it’s truly the best thing for them.

Have you been through the process of searching for a senior care facility for a loved one? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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