If you decide to explore senior living options, like assisted living or memory care, please avoid these frequent mistakes so you can make the best placement decision possible for your loved one.
Finding the right assisted living or memory care community for an aging loved one can be a difficult undertaking, but here are five common mistakes to avoid when trying to find proper senior living options:
Mistake #1: Selecting a Senior Living Community without considering current and future needs.
As you start your search for senior living, it is vital that you examine your loved one’s present care needs as well as possible future care needs. You should consider your senior’s current health situation and confer with a medical specialist to determine the likely progression of your loved one’s health as they age. With this information, you will better understand the level of care they will need over time, and you can make sure that a continuum of care exists to meet your loved one’s care needs as they undergo health changes.
We have found that it is a lot less challenging to find a senior living community in the beginning with the means to manage your senior’s evolving health needs than it is to move them later on when their care needs exceed the level of care a community can provide. Relocating your loved one is not only a financial burden, but it also can be a very trying experience for your senior both physically and emotionally, so finding the right community from the start is always the ideal choice.
Mistake #2: Believing that luxurious community amenities equate to quality care services.
While the amenities and features of a senior living community are important considerations, they should not be the primary factors used to determine the quality of care the community provides. Some best practices for effectively evaluating the “care culture” of an assisted living or memory care community include physically or virtually touring the community; sampling their dining services; and participating in community activities or events. These firsthand experiences will allow you opportunities to observe how a community interacts and cares for their resident seniors.
If possible, you should also try to talk with community staff and residents regarding their level of satisfaction. You will be vastly more confident in a placement decision if you encounter cheerful staff, lively residents, and a welcoming living environment. You should also ensure that the senior living community is properly licensed by local, state, and/or federal authorities to provide required care services to your loved one.
Mistake #3: Focusing too heavily on the close proximity of the Senior Living Community.
Allocating undue importance to finding the closest assisted living or memory care community is another common mistake families make. While the location of the senior living community should surely be a crucial factor in the selection process, it should not be the deciding one. When you are open to communities outside your immediate geographic area, you may find that there is a more fitting community for your loved one just a few miles further away. As a result, it is essential that your primary focus is on which senior living community will best meet the needs of your loved one.
Mistake #4: Making an overly rushed Senior Living decision.
At times, families can make a placement decision too quickly by selecting the first senior living community they visit in an effort to quickly resolve a troubling predicament. Yet, oftentimes acting too swiftly can lead to a problem more detrimental than the one being addressed, so take your time. Before making your final placement decision, plan to visit at least 3 different senior living communities, and with each visit, be sure to make note of your likes and dislikes of each community. This will allow you time to assess the various options available, enabling you to make a more informed, thoughtful decision for your senior.
Mistake #5: Searching for Senior Living on your own.
It can be immensely stressful and time-consuming trying to navigate the network of senior living options available without a knowledgeable guide to assist you, so incorporating a senior living advisor into your placement process can be very beneficial. Local senior living advisors, like those at Assisted Living Locators of Northern Virginia, can provide an inside perspective on the senior living communities in your area, to include location, care services, pricing, amenities, and more. Local senior living advisors, like us, are comprehensively trained, and we regularly visit and interact with the senior living providers in our area, so we can help you focus your senior living search and drastically reduce the time it takes to find the appropriate community for your loved one.