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Assisted Living

Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility for Your Loved One

Choosing the most appropriate and affordable assisted living facility for a family member is not an easy task. It requires some research and investigation on your part.

Financial Considerations

Needless to say you want to choose the best facility possible for your family member. The reality is that you must also choose a facility that they can afford to live in for an indefinite period of time. Carefully check your family member's health insurance information and explore sources for obtaining assistance with the cost of staying in the facility.

Services

Talk with the administrator of the facility and find out what services are available to the residents. This can vary widely from one facility to the next, so don't make the assumption that what is offered at one place is also offered at another. Transportation, housekeeping, laundry services, medication management and meals are pretty standard services offered in assisted living facilities. Some facilities have nurses available at all times or offer physical rehabilitation services while others do not. An exercise room is also a great amenity, but again, not all facilities will have one. You simply have to check to see which facility best meets the needs of your family member.

Personal Assessment

Once you have narrowed your choices down to a small number, go to those facilities and look around to see how comfortable you think your family member would be there. Talk with the staff and residents. Take the family member with you if possible. Socialization is important – see if the facility has community rooms, reading rooms or outdoor garden areas available where your family member can visit with other residents. Check out the meal routine to see if the residents have choices of menu items, if they have snacks available and how the seating arrangements are determined.

If your family member has a pet, try to find a facility that allows them to bring their pet with them. If this isn't possible, try to find a facility that has a resident dog or cat, or possibly an aviary. The presence of animals is important to someone who is accustomed to having them around.

You will also need to make a decision about the choice of room, i.e., whether it will be private or semi-private. The cost of the room may be a deciding factor in this area. Find out the policy on switching rooms if there is a personality conflict in a semi-private room.

Make a comparison chart for the top two or three facilities you like. This visual comparison may make it easier for you to decide which facility meets your family member's needs.

The decision to move a family member to an assisted living facility is difficult. To make the best choice, it is imperative that you do some preliminary research before finalizing your decision.

By Veronica Hunsucker

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