Making decisions about where our aging loved ones should spend their golden years can be a challenging and emotional process for many family members. It can be difficult to watch Mom or Dad slow down and need more help. It can be even more painful to know that a loved one needs assistance, but our personal and work obligations don’t allow us to be the ones to provide that care. 

Today, our aging loved ones have several options when it comes to senior living. Unfortunately, this only adds to the difficulty of making the right choice. It’s essential to consider several factors to ensure that the choice fits our loved one’s needs and preferences. Below are a few important steps families should take in order to make informed decisions about senior living. 

Assess Your Loved One’s Needs and Preferences 

The first step in making an informed decision about senior living is assessing your loved one’s needs and preferences. This will help you narrow your search to facilities that meet those needs. Consider your loved one’s physical health and cognitive health. Do they have any chronic medical conditions or mobility issues that require regular assistance, or are they in decent health and rather independent? Are they facing any memory concerns, such as mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, that may necessitate memory care? What about their personal lifestyle—what leisure pursuits do they enjoy, and how active do they prefer to be? Knowing what care your loved one requires and understanding their social preferences will guide you in choosing the most appropriate senior living option. 

Explore Different Types of Senior Living 

After better understanding your loved one’s needs and preferences, the next step is to explore the different types of senior living options. Senior living communities vary in the type of care they provide, as well as the amenities they offer. Independent living is often ideal for seniors who are active and self-sufficient but want to enjoy a sense of community. Assisted living caters to seniors who need help with daily activities, such as bathing, toileting, or dressing, but still value independence and don’t require round-the-clock nursing care. Memory care communities are designed to care for seniors with memory loss and offer specialized care and safety measures to ensure their well-being. Skilled nursing facilities provide round-the-clock medical care for seniors with complex medical conditions. Continuous care retirement communities, known as CCRCs, encompass all the above, offering a range of care options on a single campus. CCRCs are ideal for seniors who may have chronic health conditions or memory loss in the future, as they allow seniors to transition to higher levels of care as needed. Consider which type of senior living option best suits your loved one’s situation so that you can focus your search on facilities that meet your loved one’s needs.

Tour Several Senior Living Communities 

Once you’ve determined the type of senior living community your loved one needs, it’s time to schedule tours with several in the area. Come prepared for your initial tour by making a list of specific questions you want to ask, such as staff-to-resident ratio, training requirements of staff members, levels of care offered, and what safety protocols are in place. During your tour, take note of how the staff interacts with residents, the overall cleanliness of the facility, and what activities are available to the residents. If possible, ask to speak with a current resident or family member to learn more about their experience with the facility. Depending on your loved one’s situation, you may want to tour alone and then schedule a separate tour with them of your top two or three choices. 

Financial Planning

Along with touring senior living options, it’s essential to have a financial plan. Senior living can be expensive. As you tour facilities, ask about pricing models and what services are included in that base price. Don’t assume that all care services are offered at a flat rate. Ask about financial planning assistance or other resources available to help offset the cost. Schedule a meeting with your loved one’s financial planner to create a plan that ensures the sustainability of where your loved one moves. Before you commit to anything, be sure you understand the terms and conditions of any contract you sign so that you don’t receive a surprise bill down the road. 

Choosing the right senior living option for your aging loved one is a significant decision. It’s important that families approach it with care and consideration. Senior Living Solutions is here to help. We provide free senior placement assistance in Arkansas, saving families time and headaches as they navigate senior living options. We can help you determine the best senior living option that will meet your loved one’s care needs. We can then recommend facilities for you to tour that meet your loved one’s care needs and lifestyle preferences. We can also help with budgeting and financial planning and recommend estate planning attorneys who are reliable and honest. You will never receive a bill for our services. Let us walk this journey with you. To learn more, please contact us today by calling 501-650-3013.