Approximately 70% of all seniors will require some type of long-term care in their lifetime. The type and amount of care vary from one individual to the next depending on individual needs, medical conditions and personal preferences. Assisted living communities are one option for those who make the choice to receive long-term care. Knowing how to prepare for assisted living can create a smooth transition for seniors and their family members and loved ones, once the decision’s been made.
What Is an Assisted Living Community?
An assisted living facility is a residential senior living community for seniors who need help with personal care, prefer independent living and don’t require the constant supervision provided by a nursing home. These communities are regulated by state agencies and offer different types of living arrangements, including separate homes, apartments, studios and individual rooms. Some even have companion suites for those who want to share their apartment with someone else. Most assisted living communities have a shared common living space, including living rooms, dining areas and gardens. Some have additional amenities such as swimming pools, libraries, computer labs, salons and on-site chapels for weekly worship. Many communities are all-inclusive and offer three meals and unlimited snacks daily, a weekly movie night, games, fitness, health screenings and weekly physician visits. Some schedule weekly resident outings for shopping trips, sightseeing and exercise. Assisted living communities may also offer memory care services, including dementia memory care and end-of-life care for older adults.
Signs a Senior Needs Assisted Living
Some seniors consider senior living communities as an option for retirement on their own. In an assisted living home, they can take part in social events with peers and be part of a bigger community while relying on others for housekeeping, yard work, meals and daily living activities. In some cases, an aging parent may need a gentle suggestion that they need assistance. Those who prefer to age in place may want to consider in-home care or home health care; however, this option may be more expensive. Some of the signs it’s time for a senior family member to transition to long-term care include:
- Requiring help bathing, grooming and remembering to take medications
- Increased accidents, including trips and falls
- Declining health or slow recovery from injuries and illness
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Antisocial behavior
- Increased frailty
Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community
Once a decision has been made to move to an assisted living community, it’s time to choose the right community. In Maryland, there are many different communities to choose from, all with their own social environment, amenities, specialties and size, so it’s important to pick the one that best suits your needs. Cedar Creek Memory Care Homes is one option for those with cognitive impairments.
Research Available Facilities
Start by researching the available communities in your area. In Maryland, there are more than 450 assisted living communities throughout the state. Ask your physician, other health care providers, family members and friends for recommendations on the best facilities. Read online reviews and check with the assisted living facility to see what they have to offer. Because an individual’s needs may change over time, it’s a good idea to pick one that can meet future needs.
Some things you may want to consider when choosing a senior living community include:
- Exact location
- Size and age of the community
- Types of amenities the assisted living facility provides
- Activities and events that take place
- Available care options
- Floor plans
- Community culture
- Staff to resident ratios
Explore the Costs
Costs can be slightly more or less depending on your exact location, the number of amenities, the type of care and the floor plan. Before making a final decision, find out how much the assisted living home costs and if it fits within your budget. It’s okay to look in other states or locations that interest you if you feel you can’t afford the cost within your state or city. Some seniors move to different cities to be closer to family and friends.
Schedule a Visit
Pick several assisted living facilities of interest and schedule visits. Sit in on group activities and review the calendar of events, tour some of the rooms and apartment layouts, meet with the staff members and even have a meal in the dining room. Because you plan on living in the home, you want to make sure you fit in with other residents and feel at home within the community culture.
Make a Decision
Once you make a decision on an assisted living place or have it narrowed down to a few select communities, inquire on the availability and fill out an application. Some communities may expect you to take part in a care assessment so they know exactly how to fulfill your needs.
How to Prepare for Assisted Living and What to Consider
Now that you’ve learned how to prepare for assisted living, help your loved one prepare for the move by assisting with packing or hiring a moving company. Start with the essential items and then decide on what family photos and other keepsakes will be moving to the new space. Take care of all the logistics of moving to a new place. Cancel existing utilities, have your mail forwarded and update addresses on credit cards and other important accounts to make paying bills easier. Also, keep a running list of any moving expenses as these are generally deductible on federal taxes.
No matter how meticulous you are in planning, there will be a transition period the first few weeks after the move. Take time to get to know other new residents and make new friends after you move in. Get acclimated to your new surroundings.
If you’re ready to find the right community for you or your loved one, contact Cedar Creek Memory Care Homes at (301) 384-4017. Our caring staff members can answer any questions you may have and make moving to your new living space a more exciting event.