Finding the best assisted living community for a loved one is easier said than done.
Location. Location. Location. Sometimes that adage can refer to a physical spot but when trying to decide on the best residence for your senior loved one it becomes a far more complicated factor. Deciding what facets of senior living are most important to your loved one can help narrow down the choices on where to live.
With that in mind, the question becomes: “What should I be asking so I know our family is making the best and most informed decision about where our senior loved one should live?”
What is assisted living and what can it offer for my loved one?
Assisted living is designed for seniors who are no longer at a point where living alone works best for them. Sometimes this is the result of deciding they no longer want the hassle and expense of their home, perhaps they are moving to be closer to family members, and sometimes it’s the result of a health event.
One of the biggest initial benefits of assisted living is the ability to maintain a sense of independence. Loved ones residing in assisted living communities are not necessarily in need of full-time care. Their ability to have assistance if and when they need it is a benefit not only to them but to those that love and care for them.
Assisted living communities are also able to adapt quickly when a loved one’s care needs change. Whether these are physical care needs or memory care needs, being in assisted living as you age means that transitions are much smoother and faster. Loved ones receive state-of-the-art care much faster and have access to rehabilitative care.
What to look for in assisted living
There are several items to consider when deciding on an assisted living community. Finding the right community can be a process because there is no-one-size-fits-all community. You’ll want to check on the amenities, staff services, resources, and location.
It can feel overwhelming trying to decide which community will best fit the needs of a loved one. There are some basic observations you can make without even having to ask questions:
- Are the grounds well maintained?
- Are sidewalks, curbs, and parking lots well maintained and safe?
- Do residents seem content and well attended?
- Does the campus feel warm and inviting?
- Does the facility feel well maintained?
- Are stairs and hallways well lit?
- Are exit signs easily visible?
- Do rooms and bathrooms have handrails and call buttons?
- Is the floor plan logical and easy to follow?
- Do you feel comfortable there?
Meals and Dining Experience
Just like every community is different, the meals and dining amenities vary from community to community. How often are meals provided? What kind of meal options are there? What is the dining area like and how is service handled? How well are they able to accommodate special dietary needs?
Services and Special Care
Plenty of communities seem nice but knowing that as the needs of your loved one change, the community is prepared to address those needs is a different story. Asking about the staff-to-resident ratio is a good place to start in terms of understanding how much care and attention you can expect for your loved one. Does the community offer on-site therapies? What about physical rehabilitation? Is memory care available?
The transition from independent living to assisted living can be a large and challenging transition for some seniors. What kind of services does the community provide to help with transitions? How do staff help and what kind of steps do they take to try and ensure a successful transition?
Sense of Belonging
Getting a clear idea of what a loved one can expect in terms of activities and social opportunities is another area that you’ll want to cover with staff. What kinds of activities are offered on-site? What about access to off-site activities and resources? What kind of opportunities are there for relationship building?
Long Term Planning
Knowing that a community can sustain the needs of your loved ones is another consideration. What kind of accommodations can be expected when there’s a couple and one spouse needs more care? How do they address the medical needs of a loved one? How do conditions such as memory loss get handled and addressed by staff?
How to select the best assisted living community
Selecting the best assisted living community involves first considering your loved one’s needs as well as the needs of your family. From there, you can research and assess whether the communities you research may be able to meet these needs and evolve with them over time.
It’s important to ask questions, do your research and explore each community for yourself, as well as including your senior loved one as much as possible so that they also feel comfortable with the decision.
Things to Remember
This is a big step. Having questions prepared ahead of time for the staff and community will take some of the anxiety out of your decision. Viewing images, suites, and floor plans before scheduling an on-site visit can help in your decision-making process.
Schedule more than one on-site visit so that you can see what the community is like during different times of the day and get to know the staff. The atmosphere may be very different on a Saturday afternoon compared to a Tuesday evening.
At The Kensington Reston, we provide a different leadership model than most. Seven days a week, and all hours of the day and night, leadership coverage is present at our community.
Reviews and Testimonials
Do your research to see what others say about the assisted living community you’re considering. Read the positive and negative reviews and consider this as one other perspective about the community.
Reach Out and Experience The Kensington First-Hand
Through your research, you may land on a few communities you’re interested to learn more about. We encourage you to reach out to The Kensington Reston to experience the many resources, services, and amenities we have to provide your senior loved one with state-of-the-art care.Contact The Kensington Reston to schedule a tour and learn more about what our community can provide for your loved one. We offer luxury and comfort and hold a deeply valued Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.