Avoid These 5 Crucial Mistakes When Choosing a Senior Living Community

Avoid these mistakes when choosing a senior living community

Don’t make these crucial mistakes when choosing a Senior Living Community

At Assisted Living Made Simple we see this all the time and decided to share with you the 5 most common mistakes you need to avoid when choosing a community.

Avoid these mistakes when choosing a senior living community © Halina Valiushka | Dreamstime.com

1. Focusing on the beauty of the community.

Yes, this place is beautiful, look at the chandeliers, the garden is lovely, there are so many books in the library! What about the care? Do they have any? How long has the staff worked there? Do they care about YOU?

See if you can chat with a few of the residents when you visit the community. If that’s not possible, pay attention to how they look, are dressed and if they are engaging with others. This can tell you if the staff is keeping them healthy and active.

2. Deciding too quickly.

Don’t make this decision too quickly. Assisted Living Made Simple always likes to tour you at three (3) places, whether it be in the Palm Coast area or Central Florida, to ensure you see the different communities and their offerings.

This is one reason we ask the questions we do, we don’t want you to move into the wrong community. We want you to move one time and one time only. Moving into a community doesn’t have to be stressful, but if you move into the wrong one, it increases your stress level immensely.

3. Taking this on by yourself.

Don’t do this alone! There are placement services out there who do this for YOU! We take you by the hand and have already done the leg work. We know the good, the bad and the ugly. If we won’t place our loved one there, we’re not going to place your loved one there.

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4. Not visiting the communities for yourself.

Too many people say they don’t have time, or they trust their loved one’s decision. Please visit the community for yourself; you may notice something your loved one missed.

This is very important! Once again, try to visit during lunch and eat with them so you can taste the food; you want to ensure it’s good. Don’t rely on pictures from the internet; you know how good food looks in TV commercials and then it doesn’t look that good at the restaurant? The same thing can happen in these communities, the rooms and/or food in the pictures can be fantastic and when you’re living there, it’s nothing like the pictures. So, please visit them for yourself and check them out.

5. Waiting too long.

Please don’t wait too long to make the move. This happens all too often and then you’re stressing out, scrambling around at the last minute trying to find a community for your loved one.

Make a plan, you know when the time is coming. Start the talk now. Rose and her partner, Susan, wrote a book, A Guiding Light for Seniors and Their Families, it is a comprehensive workbook that walks you through the stages of aging and helps you make a plan. It gives you pointers about how to start the talk, tells you what documents you need to have in order and so much more and it’s a free download from our website.

There is no reason for mistakes when choosing a community for you or your loved one. With the proper guidance, it can be a stress-free, hassle-free journey. Call Assisted Living Made Simple today for your FREE consultation. DON’T go it alone!!

If you need help or encouragement as a Caregiver give us a call at 386-847-2322 or check out our Caregiver Support Group. Our Senior Advisors are here to walk with you through this journey.

Assisted Living vs Nursing Home

Assisted Living vs Memory Care Communities: What's the Difference?

One question we get asked a lot at Assisted Living Made Simple is, What is the difference between assisted living vs nursing home? Let me try to clear up the differences for you.

Assisted Living vs Nursing Home

Assisted living is great for seniors who no longer want to live alone and maintain a home, but want to live an active, social lifestyle. Seniors in assisted living are usually active, but may need assistance with activities of daily living, such as, bathing, dressing, medication management and meal preparation.

Communities do have nursing available should you require it and some have it available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Assisted Living vs Memory Care Communities: What

Some of the amenities of an assisted living community are:

  • Three meals a day, in a restaurant-style atmosphere
  • Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments
  • Happy hours
  • Activities based on holidays and residents interests
  • Laundry, housekeeping, maintenance
  • Spacious apartments (some with small kitchenettes)
  • Wider doorways and ramps to allow easier access for wheelchairs and walkers

Assisted living is private-pay, but once you factor in everything you receive, it costs about the same as living in your house. To find out more, check out my other blog, Aging in Place.

What is the next level of care after assisted living?

The next level of care after assisted living really depends on the level of care you require. There are assisted living communities where you can age in place and never leave. There are also those who cannot handle serious conditions and you will have to be moved to a nursing home. So, it really just depends on what has happened to you and your condition.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are also referred to as skilled nursing facilities and are for those who require full-time medical assistance and around-the-clock monitoring. Nursing homes are for those who need a higher level of care but do not require hospitalization.

Residents in nursing homes do need advanced medical care in addition to their activities of daily living, such as, diabetic or other injections, catheter care, cognitive declination, advanced stages of Parkinson’s, impaired judgement and behavioral issues.

Services a nursing home provides:

  • Palliative and preventative long-term care
  • Dental services
  • Nutritional meal preparation
  • Prescription medicine administration, injections as well
  • Increased safety features
  • Rehabilitative services, such as speech, occupational, physical, and cognitive therapy

The cost of a nursing home is usually covered by insurance; it will depend on your specific plan. Medicaid is another way to pay for a nursing home, if you qualify.

When should you move from assisted living to nursing home?

The time to move from an assisted living community to a nursing home depends on your or the community’s doctor’s assessment as your health declines.

Should they determine you need more care than the community can handle, ex. Injections, catheter care, in-depth therapy, palliative care or long-term care, they will recommend you be moved to a nursing home.

Still wondering?

Are you still questioning if assisted living is better than a nursing home? Well, if you are still an active senior, but no longer want to live alone or maintain your home, assisted living is the choice for you; it is so much better than waiting until it’s too late and then having to live in a nursing home.

Be sure to enjoy your golden years while you can!!

How Can You be Sure ALF’s Are Safe During This Pandemic

How Safe are ALFs during this Pandemic

With the arrival of COVID-19 came rampant cases in nursing homes, which in turn made the assisted living communities concerned.

The assisted living, independent living, and memory care communities stepped up their guidelines immediately and have been able to keep their residents safe.

All safety protocols were put into place and carried out without hesitation. This enabled them to contain the spread of the virus. The communities are still abiding by those protocols and are NOT slacking on them to ensure the virus does not spread throughout the center.

Just look at the hugging wall from a local Florida Assisted Living Facility. These communities are constantly coming up with solutions everyday to ensure your loved ones are protected.

What are the differences between a nursing home and other senior communities? Nursing homes offer extensive care, similar to the care received in a hospital. Nursing homes also provide skilled nursing care 24/7 as their residents usually have more care needs. The reason nursing homes have such an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, is due to the elderly people being more susceptible to the virus. Their immune systems are already compromised.

Independent living communities are for people who are still independent, but don’t want to care for a home, lawn maintenance, etc. They can prepare their own meals or share meals in a communal type area, some of them have golf and a pool to enjoy, along with other activities. They still drive and continue an independent lifestyle.

Assisted living communities are for people who need some help with activities of daily living. Residents may need medication management, assistance with dressing, bathing, transportation, keeping them safe from COVID in a secure environment. These communities also have daily activities, such as bingo, dancing, and much more.

Memory care homes can be part of a larger community and they care for those with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. They have trained staff and specific activities to accommodate their needs. They are secure to ensure their safety.

So, how do you know if assisted living communities are safe?

There is no sure-fire way to be 100% positive of anything, but some may say they are safer in an assisted living than at home. They have very strict protocols that you probably don’t have at home, they practice social distancing, which you probably don’t do at home, they wear face masks and limit gatherings, which is probably not done at the home.

Assisted living communities are doing a great job protecting their residents and keeping them social and happy!!!

Avoid These Mistakes

Are you in the process of searching for an assisted living for yourself or a loved one?

When families and seniors select an assisted living community, it is life-altering. Making the wrong decision can be devastating to the senior.

Our Guiding Light For Seniors guide outlines what to do and what steps to take when researching senior living, but it is alsohelpful to know what not to do.

Choosing a community to match your tastes instead of your parent’s.

Keep your loved one involved in the decision process. Even if they cannot tour with you, be sure you are considering their personality and interests when choosing their future home.

Doing it alone.

When making a decision this big, it’s usually wise to gather multiple perspectives on your senior living options. Get feedback from as many people as possible: family and friends who have gone through the process, your loved one’s care team, a geriatric care manager and a professioal senior advocate from Assisted Living Made Simple.

Obtaining the services of a senior advocate or advisor to help you navigate this journey will make your search easier and much less stressful. This kind of professional can help save you hours of time and stress by narrowing your choices to the places that meet your specific needs. We help families evaluate issues such as amenity preferences, care requirements as well as finances.

Choosing a Community Based on Price.

Sometimes families assume a community is right for their parent or senior loved one because it has a high price or lots of fancy features, only to later realize that this is not an indicator of quality care.  Luxury senior living does not necessarily mean quality senior care. A beautiful, modern and upscale facility is just as prone to oversights and errors as a community that looks a little dated. Quality of care is not something you can discern just by driving past a community. The professional senior advocates at Assisted Living Made Simple know the communities in their area and can make the best recommendations for your situation.

Making a decision too quickly.

The choice of an assisted living facility is overwhelming. Some families are so overwhelmed with the choice, that they don’t make a decision at all. On the flip side some families do the opposite. They rush to resolve a difficult situation quickly and grab the first thing available.

We recommend that families visit at least multiple communities before making a decision so that you are aware of all the options that are available. Take note of how communities differ from one another and what makes each community unique. Iin order to make a good choice, you need options.

Not reading the fine print.

Assisted living contracts are pretty straightforward, at least compared to other legal documents, but they still can contain confusing legalese or involve fees that aren’t completely apparent. Some families are caught unprepared by price increases that they would have been aware of had they reviewed their contract. Assisted Living Made Simple can help you navigate these sometimes confusing documents.

Different assisted living communities have different pricing structures. Some communities charge one fee for room and board and a separate fee for care. A community may charge one fee per month for the apartment and the meals, and an additional fee per month for personal care. Other communities charge individually for each service or they may rank the level of care that a resident needs on a scale, with care costs based on the level of care the nursing staff determines is needed. Some communities don’t charge a care fee at all, but instead, provide an all-inclusive pricing model whereby resident’s fees are not dependent on the care needed. If there is anything about the contract that concerns you, review it with an elder attorney.

Don’t go it alone. The Senior Advocates of Assisted Living Made Simple are here to help. Call us or stop by our office for more information. Our services are always free to the senior and their family.