Finding an assisted living community for a loved one can be a daunting task. You want to find the right place for your family member to live, but there are so many factors to consider it can be hard to know where to begin your search. Looking online is a great place to start, but even then it’s difficult to narrow down your options.
To help simplify this process, we’ve compiled a list of steps to finding assisted living online, and what you should look for:
Step #1: Cutting Through the Online Clutter
When you start your online search you’ll likely begin with a local search online, like “assisted living Bedford Township.” Your list of results will include ads, local listings, and organic results.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that the first couple ads are likely not for assisted living communities. Instead, these companies like A Place For Mom and Caring.com act as brokers for many assisted living options around the country. We recommend not wasting your time calling them because they primarily provide you with the same list of communities in your area that you would find with a google search for Assisted Living or Mental Care. You can easily find these yourself. Just scroll down past the advertisements for the local listings.
Step #2: Choosing Quality of Life
Once you’ve found your assisted living websites you can begin evaluating the different communities available in your area. Look at the website as if you were taking a tour of the community. What are they emphasizing? Virtually everyone will discuss their quality of care, but you should go deeper than that and also consider the quality of life your family member will have through life enrichment activities and programs, relationship building, and other . Look at a community’s amenities, programming, and mission statement to get a better understanding of their values and approach to care.
Step #3: Narrow Your Options: Memory Care and Assisted Living
Understanding assisted living gets a little confusing when your loved one needs supervision of care because of their cognitive or memory problems (dementia), rather than their need for physical care. Many people think that if Mom or Dad have dementia and can no longer live at home they need a nursing home, but that is no longer true. Many assisted living communities now offer memory care, usually located in a specialized wing or building.
Assisted living is usually a much more pleasant and residential environment than a nursing home, which can look and feel institutional. You can often have your own room, and some communities offer different levels of memory care to accommodate the different behaviors and potential problems associated with early, mid-stage and later stage dementia.
To narrow your search, determine what level of memory care your family member might need and plan accordingly. Not all assisted living communities may have the services you need, so this can be a way to narrow down your options even further.
Step #4: Assisted Living Tours: Evaluating Off-Line
You’ve picked your top contenders for assisted living communities, but don’t call them yet. Make a surprise visit after business hours or on the weekend, when the administrator and marketing team are likely gone. This will give you a more “real” look at residents, staff engagement, and the community as a whole. If you like what you see you can make an appointment for a tour during business hours and get the full sales pitch.
Step #5: Making The Choice
Ultimately, the assisted living community you choose will depend on a variety of factors like price, quality of care, and location. Taking the time to thoroughly vet each community online and paying an unannounced visit will help give you a better idea of what the community is really like and make the right choice for your loved one.
For more information on assisted living, memory care and nursing homes, you can contact Dean Solden at Deansolden.firstname.lastname@example.org.