Posted March 23, 2009

It is important to carefully assess all of your needs when searching for senior housing.  From our experience, these are the top 5 things you want to look for.

1. Cost – How much do they charge and how are you going to pay for it?  Some charge a standard monthly fee and some charge for care a la carte.  It is important to realize this when comparing facilities.  In the current economy, do NOT be afraid to ask if they community you are considering is running any specials or incentives – you might save a couple of thousand dollars.  Remember, Medicare does NOT pay for assisted living

2. Location – Where do you want to be – near your current neighborhood, friends and church?  Near your children? It is sometimes best to consider a place that is easiest to get to for friends and family to visit.  The real estate rule is still in effect.. pricing is all about location location location.

3. Care – Make sure the place you choose has the staff and the training to handle the medical issues of the person making the move.  That can include medication management issues, falling or Alzheimer’s disease.  I usually recommend that the community has a nurse on staff every day – and hopefully for 12 or more hours a day if possible.

4. Room Type – This is an area of the greatest adjustment.  Many times the senior is not just downsizing, they are really downsizing.  They may be moving from a 4 bedroom home to a studio apartment.  Check out the cost of each option and keep in mind their furniture.  Remember – the dining room table does NOT have to come with.  You would not believe how many times people tell me they want to bring their dining room table.  (Same people who have been eating off a TV tray in front of the television every night.)

5. Meals – by far the 3 most important activities of the day.  Meal time allows residents to socialize as well as get the nutritious meals they may have been skipping at home.  Is the dining area clean?  Are the residents given a choice of entrees?  Every place I work with will allow you to come in for lunch to try the food.  Take advantage of this!  And if they don’t invite you, ask.  If they don’t want you to try the food.. …. run!

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