Top 10 Things to Look for
in an Assisted Living Community
These top 10 things to look for in an assisted living community can help you choose one that’s right for you or a loved one, now and in the future
At any age, everyone needs a place where love resides, memories are created, friends are always welcome, and laughter brightens every day. Choosing a place where you or a senior loved one can continue to enjoy these facets of life is one of the most important decisions you can make.
To help you make the most informed decision possible, we offer the top 10 things to look for in an assisted living community.
Mission and PurposeHappiness in an assisted living community depends on more than having a safe, clean, pleasant place to live. It’s heavily influenced by the management company’s mission and purpose that guides decisions at every level of care. Ideally, the website will clearly state its official philosophy of providing senior care. If not, take the time to have a substantive conversation with someone in leadership to make sure their vision aligns with yours.
LocationWhile visits by family and friends are always treasured, they become even more important to a person’s quality of life as they age. That is why choosing an assisted living community that is close to loved ones is essential. Whether that means selecting a location in their current and beloved neighborhood, or one close to where their children or grandchildren live, make sure the community is convenient for family members to frequently visit.
AffordabilityMoney matters, especially in your or a loved one’s later years. If you can, work with a financial planner to determine how to budget financial assets efficiently to cover the costs of enjoying the comforts, convenience, and care of an assisted living community. Knowing how much you’re able to spend will make it easier to narrow down your options.
SizeAccording to the National Center for Assisted Living, the average number of licensed beds in an assisted living community is 33. Sizes range from as few as 4 beds to more than 100. Size often affects the types of care and services offered: Very small communities offer an intimate environment but may have limited services, while larger ones are more likely to feature amenities like swimming pools, movie theaters, and restaurants.
ServicesWhat kind of care do you or your loved one want or need? Typical assisted living communities offer dining services, housekeeping, wellness and exercise programs, as well as medication management support. Others provide personalized services based on health needs. Make sure you choose one that provides the right level of services and attention for your loved one.
CultureAn assisted living community is more than housing. It’s a place to enjoy life in an environment that enriches and enhances a resident’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. That may be through fun social activities, stimulating cultural programs, exercise, or opportunities to engage in quiet respite or fellowship groups. Visit the communities you’re considering and assess their ambiance to make sure it meshes with what will make you or your loved one happy.
Meal QualityEnjoying a good meal and favorite foods are one of life’s greatest pleasures, especially when breaking bread with others. Be sure to do a taste test when you’re touring assisted living communities, and in addition to evaluating flavor and presentation, check portion sizes as well as whether second servings and between-meal snacks are available.
Living SpaceBeing surrounded by familiar and favorite furniture and mementos make any space feel like a high-end residence. When choosing an assisted living community, make sure the rooms are large enough to accommodate their furniture as well as visitors. The living spaces and bathrooms should have handrails, grab bars, and call buttons along with safety locks on the doors and windows. The community should be fitted with up-to-date security and fire safety systems as well.
Staff TrainingIt goes without saying the staff at assisted living communities should be knowledgeable, friendly, and compassionate. However, it pays to make sure that is only the beginning of their staff qualifications. When you visit a community, ask whether they have any advanced accreditations or specialized training.
Transition to a Higher Level of CareThe only thing certain about life is change. A senior who starts out needing just a little assistance may eventually require a higher level of care because of a physical health condition or memory issues. Some assisted living communities offer a seamless transition to in-house skilled nursing or memory care. Others can refer you or your loved one to more intensive residential healthcare providers if the need arises.
Taking these 10 factors into consideration can help you choose the assisted living community that is right for you or your loved one, now and in the years to come.
MorningStar Senior Living — Assisted Living Community
If your loved one lives far from family and friends, it could be time to move into an assisted living community near their adult children where they’ll have the companionship of fellow seniors and a compassionate service team. At MorningStar Senior Living, a 24/7 team is dedicated to offer care and hospitality services that meet each resident’s social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.