Finding the Best Assisted Living Community
To see a list of assisted living facilities, enter your desired area (zip, city, or full address) in the search bar above and then click on the 'Assisted Living' button at the top to see only assisted living facilties in your area.
Finding the best assisted living community isn’t easy. And it shouldn’t be. This is a new and important chapter in your life. The decision to leave your old life and start new is an emotional one. It’s a financial one and for many seniors, a necessary one. But it is a process that can be made easier with some guidance.
What is an Assisted Living Community?
Assisted living communities are for those seniors who want an independent lifestyle but who may need assistance for their individual needs. In these communities, you should feel like your independent and have the peace of mind knowing that your specific daily needs are met. These needs include daily meals, dressing, bathing, help with medication, transportation and personal mobility.
Most assisted living communities also provide (at extra cost) housekeeping, access to health services, Alzheimer’s care, staff available for personal needs, 24-hour security, an emergency call system, exercise programs, medication management, personal laundry service, and social and recreational activities.
Communities typically consist of apartments of 25 to 120 units from single rooms to full apartments. Some are even in subdivided houses with live-in staff.
They can be operated by non-profits or for-profit companies.
How to Select the Right Community?
The best way to find the right community is to visit one. Then another. Then another until you find one that is just right. And how do you know if it’s right? Before you visit, think about these different aspects and questions. These questions will get you thinking about other questions.
Does the facility feel home-like? Do you like the décor? What are the apartment and room choices? Do you have a full apartment with kitchen? Do you have a private bath? Will you share an apartment? Are there grab bars in the bathroom? Is there a separate thermostat in your room? Is there plenty of natural lighting? What is the view like? Is there enough closet and storage space? Are kitchen cabinets easy to reach?
Talk to the residents and staff? Does the staff seem to genuinely care? Would you enjoy sharing meals with the residents? Do you share common interests? Are the residents somewhat independent? Is there social activity in the common areas? Do the residents seem happy?
Is staff there around the clock? Are all entrances and exits secured? Is there a fire sprinkler system? Smoke detectors? Emergency call system in the rooms? Are the halls and grounds well lit? Are there handrails in the hallways? Are the hallways and doorways wide sufficient for walkers and wheelchairs? Are there walk-in showers?
Is there a monthly events calendar posted? Are the spiritual services on-site? Are there transportation schedules for shopping? Workout facility? Crafts room? Computers and printers? Massage therapy?
Is the community near a beauty salon and barber? Library? Grocery store? Movies? Mall?
Is there a meal menu and can choose when to eat? Ask to sample the facility’s food.
Ask to see the facility’s licensing and certification reports. These show any patterns of neglect and medication errors.
Ask to see a copy of the resident agreement which spells out the facility’s obligations. And it will list the charge of items that are extra like laundry service.
How close are you to friends and relatives? Are they allowed to stay overnight?
What is the staff to patient ratio? A good ratio for fairly independent residents is 1-to-15. In some smaller facilities, the staff will perform all the duties while in larger communities there is a separation. What is the staff turnover rate? Rates in the double digits could indicate a problem.
If a resident becomes more disabled can the facility accommodate those needs?
Who dispenses medication and how much training have they had? States have training requirements.
According to a Genworth Financial survey on the cost of senior care, the median rate for a private one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living residence is $3,300 per month. Of course this is only a mid-point. There are many options below and above this price.
Medicaid in many states does cover some assisted living services. If your annual income is below $12,000 you may qualify for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 202 and Section 8 senior housing. This provides rent subsidies for assisted living facilities.
Updated: Feb 14, 2011
Comments Comments... Read them below.
|parentsfirst On Feb 9, 2013
Whitewood Assisted Living in Grasonville Maryland is the best. Newly renovated, single rooms with bathrooms, great staff, activities, terrific food.
|Julie On Jan 3, 2013
Do these options help "younger" seniors? I have seen that the term senior seems to change depending on where you are and I worry about finding a good home for my mother in law. She is 55 but really ill, needs 24 hr assistance, and I have already faced the problem that nursing homes won't take her because she's too young. She is already getting kicked out of the one place that took her. If any one has any suggestions or ideas, I'd appreciate it. I am currently searching places in MN (she is out of state) but any bit of info helps.
|rae On Nov 28, 2012
I have a 77 year old male, with diabetes and double leg amputy in a wheel chair who is lossing his housing he is independently renting. he is pretty independent, rides on the city bus to town 4 x weekly. makes own meals, although he may need to call some one if he ever falls or something. He does shower himself too. He lives on social security of $1050 a month. He lives on the island of Ohau in Hawaii. Do you have any suggestions for housing for him.
|Lisa On Nov 26, 2012
I am looking for senior assisted living for a woman 68 that has diabetes and lives on 830 per month in social security. Can you help? Thank you
|john On Oct 14, 2012
how do i apply for assistance in order to affored the monthly coast i receive ssdi about 860 a month i am currently living in a nursing home
|Peg Hoffman On Aug 24, 2012
I'm looking for senior assisted living for a woman who is 80+ and lives only on social security. Can you help?