7 Ways to Start Your Assisted Living Search

If you’re the adult child of an aging parent considering moving to assisted living, or if you are a person in their Golden Years thinking about moving to this type of long-term care, you need a search strategy. You need a search tactic to put you on the pathway to finding an ideal assisted living community. This includes tips on how to start looking for an assisted living community. There are seven useful tips to consider when thinking about starting your assisted living search:

  • Talk to the doctor
  • Make a wish list
  • Check social media
  • Schedule a visit
  • Designate a notetaker
  • Visit again
  • Get recommendations

Talk to the Doctor

Your selected senior living community must meet your lifestyle and healthcare needs. Talking to your doctor could help you discern what level of care you need. With your doctor, it may help to make a list of your chronic conditions and bring it to prospective communities. By taking this course, you can better determine how that community’s care programs can address your particular needs.

Your doctor may also be able to recommend communities that he or she trusts. As discussed in a moment, recommendations are very helpful in finding an ideal assisted living community for you (or your aging parent).

Make a Wish List

With so many options available when it comes to senior living options (including assisted living communities), choosing where to live can feel like a daunting decision. Instead of beginning your search by finding out what’s out there, it may be helpful to begin by finding out what you want. Create a proverbial wish list – a summary of attributes of an ideal assisted living community. Your assisted living wish list might include items such as pets being allowed, a desirable apartment size, a location close to family or your doctor, a certain level of care recommended by your doctor, and activities that fit your interests.

By making a wish list, you can narrow your options down to choices that can better accommodate you. You can eliminate certain options in advance that cannot meet your needs. You will be in the best position to focus on assisted living communities that are most likely to satisfy your objectives and desires.

Check Social Media

Social media can be a great tool when you begin looking for an assisted living community to call home (or for your mother or father to call home). Social media can provide an unfiltered glimpse at social life and other elements in a particular assisted living community.

Many assisted living communities post pictures and videos of resident programs, activities, and social events on their pages. Social media can also provide insight into the residents’ quality of life. Seeing what residents are posting from a senior living community can provide useful insights into living in a particular facility. It is recommended that you check a facility’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Schedule a Visit

After narrowing the list of assisted living communities that look like they best meet your needs, the time has come to schedule visits at these locations. You should narrow the list of prospective assisted living communities to between three to five locations to visit.

During a visit, you will want to make sure that you have the opportunity to ask questions of an administrator of the facility. You likely will come up with other questions after your first tour, and you will want to make sure that whomever you visit with is aware you are likely to want more information.   

Designate a Notetaker

Take someone with you on your tour of a prospective assisted living community. The person can be a notetaker, recording things you request to be memorialized. That individual can also take notes when you meet with an administrator to ask questions and obtain more information.

A notetaker can free you up to focus on what is being seen and heard on an assisted living community tour. Taking a person along also gives you a second set of eyes. This person might be able to identify some pros and cons of a particular assisted living facility that you might not personally recognize during your initial visit.

Visit Again

When considering a particular assisted living facility, one visit rarely is enough. Therefore, you will want to schedule a second visit to an assisted living community where you feel interested. You will want to consider a follow-up visit to certain locations that you initially concluded do not meet your needs. A subsequent visit can allow you to double-check and expand upon things seen and heard during your initial visit.

When you make subsequent visits, schedule them at different times of the day than when you went to a location on the first occasion. This will give you a better idea of what is happening at an assisted living community at different times during any given day, week, or even month.

Get Recommendations

The odds are that other people in your life have considered assisted living options for themselves or someone else (like a parent). An important way to start an assisted living search is to talk to other extended family members and friends to see if they have any thoughts or recommendations regarding possible assisted living communities you can call home.

In the final analysis, applying their seven tactics will better ensure that your search for an assisted living (or other long-term care) community gets off to a good start. You will put yourself on the pathway to find an assisted living option that makes the most sense for you and satisfies your particular needs.