Getting old, it has been said, ain’t for sissies. As we age, we all come to a time where things just get harder to do. Maybe your older mother can’t handle the cooking or cleaning, or your father shouldn’t be raking leaves or shoveling snow anymore. Maybe you feel yourself like you could use some help with certain daily tasks in order to stay safe and healthy. For the most part you’re able to get along but wouldn’t mind some help now and then with certain chores.
That may be the time to consider moving to an assisted living facility (ALF).
An assisted living facility is not the same as a nursing home or a skilled nursing facility (SNF). An assisted living facility is suited to individuals or couples who require some assistance with some of the activities of daily living, but not the kind of skilled nursing and medical care that an SNF can provide.
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An assisted living facility can provide help with some daily activities, including:
These benefits are typically offered a la carte, which means the resident can pick and choose which services to access and can add or change services as their needs change. Each service comes with its own price.
Each assisted living facility is different, of course, but a typical assisted living facility offers a private apartment or townhome, with shared common areas like the dining room and community room and certain amenities like a gym, pool or health spa.
Many of these communities include meal plans with up to three meals a day for those who want to cut down on cooking and dishwashing. They also typically offer 24/7/365 security and supervision. Some organize social and recreational activated for residents.
Finding the right living arrangement for you or a loved one requires some research and planning. Experts advise the following steps for choosing an assisted living facility.
You can use a number of resources to help in your search to find the best senior living communities in your area, such as:
You can also ask relatives, friends, neighbors and your loved one’s doctors for their recommendations.
When you choose a facility to visit, ask to see the facility’s license and accreditation and ask about staff turnover; a stable workforce indicates a happy place to work, which will translate to a happy place to live.
And speak to residents if you can. Ask their feelings about what they like and don’t like about the facility. They know the place best.
Finally, trust your instinct. Does the facility “feel” right? Do you get the sense that you or your loved one would be safe, comfortable and well treated here? If not, it’s not the right place, so keep looking.
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David Levine is an award-winning writer and editor whose work has been featured in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated, American Heritage, U.S. News & World Report and others.
David has covered health, health insurance and health policy topics – among many others – since 2017. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of Rochester and currently lives in Albany, New York.
LinkedIn: David Levine