There are numerous reasons to look for a retirement or assisted living community for your elderly parent. The most common reasons are that (a) it is unsafe for your loved one to live alone, (b) he or she needs the type of care or service that only such a community can provide, and (c) your loved one would benefit from the socialization and interaction inherent in living in such a community.
Regency Park Senior Living recommends that you take certain steps to find the right retirement or assisted living community, as follows:
First, obviously geography is important. The more conveniently located the community is to your home or workplace, the easier it will be o visit and spend time together.
Second, know your budget. There are significant variations in cost between retirement communities, and it is important to figure out how much you have to spend and for how long. Keep in mind that the rent at most assisted living communities includes meals, utilities, housekeeping, transportation, and social activities.
Third, ask your friends where they recommend. Word of mouth is often the best way to find a quality senior community. Reputations are generally earned, and while good news travels fast, bad news travels even faster.
Fourth, do your own preliminary research on the Internet. Read about the communities you are interested in – and the company that runs them – on their website. Look at photos and read resident testimonials. Do the residents look like people with whom your loved one might have things in common?
Fifth, list the important features for your parent. Everybody wants to be in a community that has bright and spacious apartments, plentiful common areas, and great food and dining. But it may be difficult to find everything on your list in one place. Decide what your priorities are and evaluate each community based on such priorities.
Sixth, do the legwork. Call and schedule tours at several communities. Try to schedule them to allow time between appointments. Pat attention to your first impression – sometimes a place just feels right.
Seventh, compare the tour experiences you had at the various communities. Was the person who gave the tour speaking from the heart? Did they seem sincere, or did you feel that they were just trying to make a sale? If you met other residents and staff members during the tour, were they smiling, and did they look genuinely happy?
Eighth, see if the community is clean and well-maintained. Ask to see as many different parts of the community as possible. After all, if they can’t (or won’t) maintain the facility, ask yourself how well will they care for your parent?
Ninth, investigate the qualifications and training of the senior management and care team at the community. How long have they been there? What is their background, education and work experience? Many companies provide this information on their website. If your loved one has special medical needs, discuss them directly with the staff if possible.
Finally, after narrowing down your list, make a lunch or dinner reservation with your loved one. The food and dining experience are extremely important. Also, consider having your loved one participate in a community activity – let them experience the community and mix with the residents first-hand.
These are some of the steps that you should take before choosing a retirement or assisted living community for your loved one. It is a big decision and needs to be approached with the seriousness it deserves.
Regency Park Senior Living has been dedicated to serving seniors for over 50 years. We offer independent living, assisted living and memory care at our communities. To learn more about our communities, contact us or schedule a tour.