The most important factor when choosing an assisted living facility is that it feels friendly, safe, and comfortable to you. While the facility should be clean and well maintained, don’t place too much emphasis on surface appeal, such as designer furnishings, gourmet meals, and impeccable grounds. The facility you’ll be happiest at won’t necessarily be the most fancy or expensive. The bottom line is that the right facility for you is the facility where you feel most at home.
Does it feel like home to you? This is a personal preference. Do you prefer a smaller, cozier environment, or would you rather be in a larger, bustling place with more activities? Is outside design, such as gardens or other greenery, important to you?
Does the facility offer activities you’re interested in? Are there hobbies or activities on site, or transportation available to outside ones? Does the facility have amenities that are important to you such as a gym, recreation center, library, or a chapel?
Is the food appealing to you? Do you have the option of eating in your room if you would like to? What kinds of food are served? Is it nutritious and appetizing? Are their different food options available?
How are health problems handled? How does the facility handle both emergency and non-emergency problems? If you develop a medical condition, will you be able to remain at the facility? At what point would you be required to move elsewhere for medical care?
Is the facility in compliance with state and local licensing requirements? In the U.S., each state has different standards, so you will want to check with your local regulatory agency to make sure that the facility is licensed and in compliance. You can also check the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against the facility.
Choosing the right assisted living facility for you
There is a huge variation among assisted living facilities. While this can make the process of choosing seem daunting, the plus side is that you have a good chance of finding a facility that is perfectly suited to your preferences and needs.
As you start your search, try not to get overwhelmed by all the options. Remember, amenities matter much less than the residents and staff. It’s the people that truly make any place, including an assisted living facility. You can tell a lot about a facility by the people who live and work there. You want a facility with an active social atmosphere—where the residents are friendly and the staff is caring and warm. Make sure that, overall, you feel the facility is a place where you will fit in and develop new relationships.
Choosing an assisted living facility or group home
What to look for in the staff:
- Do they have time to speak with you or does it feel rushed?
- Do they appear genuinely interested in you?
- Do they interact warmly with current residents?
- How do they handle emergencies?
What to look for in the residents:
- Do they appear happy?
- Do they enjoy interacting with one another?
- Do they seem like people you’d enjoy getting to know?
- Are there hobbies or groups on site that look interesting to you?