The following assisted living community evaluation checklist is your guide to the important amenities, services, accommodations, and care provided by assisted living communities. Every community is unique. ALFA recommends making several visits at various times of day to each community you are considering.
Ask the community for written material, including copies of the residency agreement that outlines, at a minimum, services, fees, extra charges, move-in and move-out criteria, staffing, and house rules.
As you begin your search for an assisted living community, assess your current needs and be prepared to ask each provider how it might accommodate any changes in your needs over time. Examine your finances and ask about costs. Monthly rates and fee structures vary.
Most of all, if you are seeking a community for someone who cannot visit the community personally, it’s important to respect their needs and wishes by including them in the process as much as possible. The result will be their greater satisfaction.
As you assess assisted living communities, you will likely visit a number of them. To help you determine the one that’s right for you or your loved one, consider the following questions to evaluate each community based on your needs. Also ask whether the community is a member of the Assisted Living Federation of America, which demonstrates a commitment to excellence and ongoing professional development.
The Assisted Living Federation of America defines assisted living as a long-term care option that combines housing, support services and health care, as needed. Assisted living is designed for individuals who require assistance with everyday activities such as meals, medication management or assistance, bathing, dressing and transportation. Some residents may have memory disorders including Alzheimer's, or they may need help with mobility, incontinence or other challenges. Residents are assessed upon move in, or any time there is a change in condition. The assessment is used to develop an Individualized Service Plan.
If you haven't planned for senior living care, you aren't alone. Few people do - either because they don't think they'll need it or because they want to save their assets for their children and believe that government subsidies will cover any care they need. This doesn't mean they can't afford suitable care; it just means the choices may be more limited. Fortunately, just like the variety in settings, styles, and amenities, senior living residences are available at a variety of price points. If you think you can't afford it, you may be surprised. Learn more.
Certain situations and signs may indicate it might be time to consider alternative living arrangements. Generally speaking, families and seniors begin to consider alternatives when it becomes difficult for the elderly family member to carry on important activities of daily living without significant support and assistance from others.
ALFA has begun accepting nominations for the 2014 Hero Awards, which honor extraordinary individuals who serve older adults in senior living communities. This year, the winners will be chosen by a public vote and honored at the 2014 ALFA Conference & Expo. Nominations close December 13, 2013. Learn more and submit nominations for the ALFA 2014 Hero Awards.