What Is the Best Way to Research Assisted Living Near Me?

Watching a loved one grow older and go through the physical and mental challenges that come with age is often difficult. In fact, senior living comes with many difficulties, both for the older people in our lives and the people responsible for their caretaking. That may be you. If so, Solterra understands the complex decision you’re facing, and we’re here to help.

You may be asking yourself, “What options are there for assisted living near me?” Solterra can help you answer that question. We’ll walk you through the process of researching assisted living homes and determining which option is best for you or your loved one. This is an important decision and one we know you don’t want to take lightly. So here are some ways to research and find the best assisted living options near you.

Make a List

Let’s first answer your question, “What options are there for assisted living near me?” Check as many resources as possible and begin making a list. Talk to family and friends. Find out if they’ve had experience with assisted living homes, and if so, ask what their impressions are of those particular homes.

You can also check with agencies and organizations that specialize in providing resources for older adults. For instance, Eldercare Locator is a public service of the US Department on Aging that assists seniors with getting connected to a range of services, including housing. The National Center for Assisted Living also has a link for finding assisted living in your area.

In addition to these national organizations, check your local and state agencies as well. If you reside in Arizona, for example, you can check with the state’s Office on Aging. The website provides a number of helpful links that can assist in your search.

Using resources like these and your personal contacts should help you gather a comprehensive list of assisted living homes in your area.

Ask the Right Questions

Once you’ve made your list of prospective places, you’ll want to narrow it down. A good way to do this is by giving each place a call and finding out as much as you can over the phone. For instance, if your loved one needs memory care and a particular home you call doesn’t specialize in it, you’ll want to cross it off your list.

The AARP has a really great list of questions to use as a jumping-off point. In addition to things like cost, you’ll want to ask for specifics about the units. For instance, are bathrooms in the home shared or private? Do the units have kitchens available, or is there only community dining? What are admission and discharge policies, and what happens if your loved one needs to change their care level during their stay?

All of these are important questions to ask, and they should help you narrow down your list. You may even get a sense of the type of service offered over the phone. But keep in mind, you may be speaking with a rep whose job it is to sell you on the place. That’s why it’s important to take the next step and arrange for an in-person visit.

Arrange a Visit

When you schedule a tour of an assisted living home, it’s your opportunity to get a first impression and see up close where you or your loved one will be living. If this is a decision you’ll be making on behalf of someone else, be sure to include that person in the visit. You want that person to be a part of the decision-making process, as well, and feel comfortable with the place where they may ultimately reside.

Once again, the AARP has a checklist of things you should be looking for during a visit. It covers everything from your gut feeling about the place to practical things, like cleanliness and how well lit the hallways and stairways are. Print this checklist out and bring it with you. Fill it out immediately after the visit, while things are still fresh in your mind. This will help you compare each assisted living home once you’ve had the opportunity to visit them all.

Again, keep in mind that a sales rep or administrator will likely be taking you on the tour, highlighting the community’s amenities and features. Be sure that you get a sense of what everyday life is like for the residents as well. Speak with the people who are already living there, and if possible, see if you can have lunch with them in the community dining area. This will help you gauge how happy the residents seem and allow your loved ones to interact with potential new neighbors.

Do Your Research

One of the best ways to do your research on assisted living options in your area is to investigate the background and records of each. You want to make sure your loved one is receiving top-of-the-line care and that the home you have chosen is adhering to all health and safety standards.

There are a number of places you can look to see if the assisted living home you’re considering is a reputable one. For instance, you can check the National Center for Assisted Living website to find out information about your state’s licensing requirements and ensure the home is in compliance with all state laws and regulations.

Additionally, many states keep records of complaints against assisted living home centers. In Arizona, for example, the Arizona Department of Health Services have a searchable database that allows you to look up any deficiencies or enforcement actions taken against an assisted living home. This will help you to identify any red flags early on.

We know selecting an assisted living home isn’t easy. But know that there are people and resources to help you along the way. We know you want the best for your loved one, and so do we. All you have to do is visit our community to see that firsthand.

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