5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an Assisted Living

Posted by Samantha Aakre on Mar 30, 2018 2:20:00 PM

Two seniors realizing they made common mistakes when choosing their assisted living communityFinding the right assisted living community for your loved one can be a difficult process. There are many communities that offer different services - making it hard to narrow down your choice. You may even second guess yourself, wondering if it's the right decision to move your loved one out of their home and into assisted living. To help make the process easier, avoid these five common mistakes people often make when choosing an assisted living.

  1. Not Involving your Loved One
    You may think your loved one would enjoy a community that is elegant with great decorations, when they really would prefer a smaller, more intimate environment (or vice versa). While it may be helpful (and less overwhelming) to begin researching communities first, and then sharing the information with your loved one, be sure to know what their "must have" and "would be nice to have" priorities are. Identify how involved your loved one would like to be, and if they wish, include them right from the start. Ask them what they think of each community you visit and really listen to what they have to says.
  2. Deciding Too Quickly 
    Although usually unintentional, rushing the decision occurs when a plan wasn't in place prior to a crisis. Don't place unnecessary pressure on yourself. Research the different community's in your area prior to a crisis striking and make a list of the ones you want to tour, keeping in mind your loved one's priorities. Talk with staff members when touring the communities to really get a sense of what the atmosphere is like. Some communities will allow your loved one to join an activity or experience dining prior to deciding. If possible, experiences like these help you and your loved one have confidence that you made the right decision. 
  3. Being Too Focused on The Cost 
    Assisted living communities come in all different shapes and sizes, and pricing structures vary widely. A community with a low price tag may mean your compromising the quality care they receive or the amenities they are able to enjoy. Alternatively, communities that are steeply priced do not always offer the programming or care services your loved one will need to age in place. Rather than being too focused on the financial aspect of the community, use your list of "must have" and "would be nice to have" to compare communities, then dive into understanding the pricing structure of each community. 
  4. Choosing Based on Proximity 
    There is an assisted living community only a few miles from your house and you may want to choose that one, so you can visit your loved one often. You have the best intentions on visiting them every day, but life gets busy. Keep in mind that your loved one will be busy with activities and visiting them every day may not be realistic. Also keep in mind that it may be worth it to drive the "extra mile" if another community that is slightly further away offers more of the programs, amenities and services that cater to the needs, wants, and desires of your loved one. 
  5. Not Planning for The Future 
    It's important to keep in mind your loved one's future care needs when choosing an assisted living. Right now, they may only need help with remembering to take their medications, but in the future may need to receive help with bathing, grooming and cooking. Look for an assisted living that offers services for your loved one's current and future care needs. Also take into consideration the financial impact of needing to increase services may have on your loved one's finances. Start the process early and allow for plenty of time to do research, visit communities, and be confident in the decision your family has made.

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Topics: Future Planning, assisted living

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