No one looks forward to admitting they need help; however, many find they need assistance in their old age. There are a lot of services out there that provide assistance to those in need, it’s simply a matter a choosing the right one for you. Whether you are struggling with daily activities or you would simply prefer a little security, assisted living may be the right choice for you.

Options for Living at Home

Before deciding on residential care, there are several at-home services for senior citizens, including:

  • At-home nursing services
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Adult day care

The above services are intended to help keep seniors comfortable at home and extend independent living as long as possible. Programs that provide in-home services, such as skilled nursing or household care, directly to your door. Adult day care is ideal for seniors that could use services or social interaction during business hours but still maintains independence at home. These services are often used to help facilitate the gradual transition into residential care.

Assisted living facilities are perfect for senior citizens who are not yet ready for a nursing home but still needs some care and support.  Assisted living provides care and assistance when needed while seniors remain independent all other times. Selecting the right assisted living facility is important and should not be rushed.  Consider personal preferences, location, cost, availability of services, and amenities to begin your search. The process of selecting the right assisted living facility takes time and research but, when done efficiently, you can find the perfect home with everything you need.

Make a List

Once you and your family have made the decision to move into assisted living, gather together to discuss the next steps. Communicate with the entire family to make sure everyone is comfortable with the taking the next few steps. Though this can be a difficult adjustment, exploring everything together can help significantly.

First, make a list of assisted living facilities that you would like to visit.  There are countless services designed to help find assisted living facilities; the easiest place to search is the Internet.  Before you begin your search, it is necessary to know what area you would like to be located.  Many seniors choose assisted living facilities that are close to their loved ones so they can have outside visitors while others may choose location based on price.  Make a list of communities in the ideal area then narrow them down according to available services, amenities, and reviews. You can also search the Better Business Bureau for information on issues in the past.

Arrange a Visit

After you narrow down your list, prepare to visit each facility. Make a check list of important points for each place and make sure to take notes on the general care and quality of the facility and the staff. It is never recommended to blindly select a place before visiting.  Try arranging your visit during a meal time or activity. Seeing daily interactions between staff and residents will give you an idea of overall happiness. Remember, this new facility will become the senior’s home so it’s important they feels happy wherever they choose to be.


Spend Time, Find References

During the process one should visit as many assisted living facilities as possible to compare and contrast.  Spend as much time as possible soaking in all of the amenities of the facility.  If possible, one should attend a networking or social event at the assisted living home to get a fuller understanding of the feel of the community.  In addition, community events allow visitors to interact with other seniors and ask them firsthand how they like the facility.  Word of mouth is one of the best referrals you can receive; compare this information to research on the Internet.

Once you have toured a few facilities, make your first, second, and third choices. Many assisted living homes have waiting lists, put your name on a waiting lists as soon as you can. It can’t hurt to have the senior’s name on multiple waiting lists, it actually helps increase the chance a place will have a spot sooner.  Few facilities require a contract or lease, yet moving is always unpleasant. If the preferred facilities have extensive waiting lists, seniors may choose temporary housing until a place is available. Make sure to ask about any fees, deposits, or policies regarding move-in.


Check Your Finances

Just as other healthcare services are expensive, assisted living homes also have notable costs.  Before making the final decision, you need to know what you can afford.  Take a good look at your savings and retirement accounts to project how long the money will last should you select a particular home. Prices for assisted living can vary greatly depending on the facility.  Health insurance coverage also varies depending on the facility and Medicare rarely provides assistance.  Most often higher-end facilities do not take health insurance, while some of the lower-end facilities may accept some forms.  Medicaid services can help low-income seniors, some may discover the qualify for assistance after selling assets in the move.


Start a New Life

Once one has made a decision and space has freed up at the preferred facility, it’s time to make the move.  Downsizing can be the most painful step in starting a new life, make sure to include the entire family for assistance and support. Upon settling into your new assisted living home, it’s important to try to interact with the community as much as possible.  Many seniors live in these communities not only for assistance but as a way of socializing with peers.  It’s important not to hold back, stay open-minded and you are sure to make new friends!

Follow these simple recommendations for an easy adjustment to a exciting new chapter of life!


Learn more about assisted living and other healthcare options at the main Assisted Living page or the main Caregiving page.

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About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.