It’s something that no one likes to talk about, yet if you put it off, the stress and anxiety only continues to build. And the sooner these things get all squared away, the sooner seniors and their families can prepare for and get used to the idea. What are we talking about? Housing arrangements for seniors. Picking a senior care facility takes time. Now is the time to begin thinking about what works best for you, your spouse or loved ones.
Note: While this article is directed at seniors who are making this decision for themselves, we also know that these decisions are often made by adult children. And sometimes they are made by the entire family. Whichever the case, the following tips can help simplify the process.
Determine Your Primary Needs
I remember when I bought my first home, my realtor told me before we got started to make a list of the things that I wanted in a home.He said just put them all down.Then go back and prioritize the list.I wanted to be in a certain part of town close to work, I wanted two bedrooms, central air, dog friendly, washer and dryer, etc.I recommend this as a way to begin this process.Put down everything that’s important to you in a community and lifestyle. Then go back and prioritize them.My realtor told me, you might not get everything, but if we get the top six out of your list of ten we may have a winner!
Additionally, you need to properly assess your medical condition. And not just how you’re doing right now, but how you’re likely to be doing in the future. Are you able to take care of yourself without any sort of in-home care? Do you have any sort of medical condition that is likely to worsen in the not-too-distant future? Are you having difficulty with your memory? All of these questions and more need to be answered before you choose a senior living facility.
Take a Hard Look at Your Financial Situation
It’s no secret–senior living facilities aren’t inexpensive. Having said that, it’s important that you know what you can afford. Have you been preparing for this change in living arrangements or are you largely unprepared? Are you eligible for any sort of government assistance? How much is Medicare going to cover? It might be a good idea to speak to an elder care attorney during this stage of the game.
Lay out Your Options
Depending on your level of need, you may have a wide range of options. For example, more and more seniors are opting to age in place. This could mean retrofitting your existing home to make life more manageable and having an in-home care specialist visit you when necessary. Or if you wish to and are capable of remaining active, you may want to find an active retirement community to move into.
If you require more assistance, you may need to find an assisted living community that provides more proactive elder care. In the case of memory problems or other special needs, a facility should be chosen that specifically handles those issues. Finally, if you are an adult child looking for a place where your parent can get constant medical attention, you may need to consider a nursing home. Bottom line, know what your options are and decide which type of community makes the most sense for your situation.
Start Your Search
Once you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to begin your search. Your best bet is to pull up Google and start by searching local related terms. For example, if you are looking for an active senior community in Rockville, Maryland then you would enter “active senior community Rockville MD” or something similar. In return, you’ll get a list of search results for you to sort through.
Now keep in mind, you want to be thorough and methodical. Perhaps compose a checklist of things you wish to see in your community of choice. As you sort through the websites, check the requirements off on your checklist. For instance, if you are looking for a community that offers in-home senior care, then that would be a bullet point you needed to check off. Once you find a community that meets all the standards you require, you can give them a call and set up a meeting date for you to walk through and assess the community in person.
Don’t Rush, But Don’t Delay
You don’t want to choose a senior living community hastily. Doing so may find you not receiving the elder care you require. However, you also don’t want to put off the decision. The sooner you get started on your search, the sooner you can relax knowing your future living arrangements are in order—and the sooner you can get used to the idea of making the move.