How to Research Assisted Living Communities

Community Life
How to Research Assisted Living Communities

Posted: August 3, 2022

Assisted living communities provide many older adults with comfortable environments where they can thrive under the care of professional staff members. These communities provide opportunities for personal growth and independence while offering top-of-the-line assistance with everyday activities.

Beginning the research process for a trusted assisted living community is important for many adult children as they evaluate their parents’ needs. When choosing assisted living, you’ll have many things to consider, such as medical services, dining options, opportunities for socialization and events within the community. Take the time to understand the ins and outs and the questions to ask when looking at assisted living to see how its environment can help your loved one thrive.

Table of Contents:

  1. What Is an Assisted Living Community?
  2. Where to Start Looking for Assisted Living Communities
  3. Researching the Best Environment for Your Loved One
  4. Scheduling a Tour
  5. Asking Questions
  6. Trust Cappella of Pueblo West to Care for Your Loved Ones

What Is an Assisted Living Community?

A quality assisted living community provides residents with round-the-clock care and support when facing health concerns later in life. These environments allow older adults to live in a comfortable suite and serve as active members of their surrounding neighborhoods. While continuing to value privacy and independence, the staff provides regularly scheduled socialization activities to keep every resident active and entertained.

Employees provide medical services tailored toward your loved one’s specific needs. Services and amenities make life as easy as possible for all residents, so you can rest assured knowing they receive quality care at all hours of the day.

Finding quality assisted living starts with your and your parent's understanding of their needs and how a team of trusted staff members can meet them.

Finding quality assisted living starts with your and your parent’s understanding of their needs and how a team of trusted staff members can meet them. If you notice that it is time to start looking for an assisted living community, follow the next steps to establish a strong connection with a trusted environment for your loved one.

Step 1: Where to Start Looking for Assisted Living Communities

Deciding on a location for an assisted living community can depend on many factors. Asking your parent where they would be most comfortable is the first step to ensuring a smooth transition from home to an assisted living suite. This step also lets your loved one feel in control of their future. Moving during this stage of life is a significant change, and it can take your loved one some time to adjust to their new community.

This research step may present a slight issue if your parents show signs of needing assisted living care but feel that their condition is good enough to continue living independently. Many signs of concern may only be visible to other family members.

Choosing a Living Community Near the Family

One popular option is choosing a community near your family. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of this option.

1. Pros

When deciding on the right community for your loved one, they may choose to stay in the area where they currently reside or where the rest of the family lives. If your parent is more comfortable staying close to their home, consider researching assisted living communities nearby. Many residents are active in their local communities and choose to live closer to home for some much-needed familiarity.

This option is a common choice among most residents for various reasons. Although they are not living under the same roof as their children and grandchildren, they often feel safer knowing their loved ones are nearby. In a majority of cases, the resident’s family is close enough to be able to provide support at any given moment. Frequent visits are much easier with this option, making the transition from home to assisted living easier for all parties.

2. Cons

Moving from a comfortable home to a new community may present some mental blockage. Your parent may not fully comprehend the difference in living situations with only a short distance between their past and present situation. Allow them some time to adapt to their new environment before visiting frequently. Independence is significant to many residents, and assisted living communities can help provide as much privacy and self-efficiency as possible.

Choosing a Living Community in Any Location

Another common choice is picking a community regardless of how close it is to family members. Think about the benefits and drawbacks of this option.

1. Pros

In some instances, potential residents will begin showing interest in communities in locations further away from their current residence. This opportunity allows them to gain a new sense of independence in a secure environment with constant support. Older adults tend to find this transition more adaptable when further away from their previous homes.

2. Cons

When selecting an assisted living community away from home, consider how frequently you plan on visiting your parent. More distance is excellent for establishing self-efficiency in residents. However, it will likely be more difficult for your to provide support without being nearby. Discuss this change with your parent before making any decisions. The transition from home to assisted living can be made as easy as possible with all parties agreeing to this new shift in support systems.

Reassuring your parent that moving to a secure and trusted environment is the best step for their health condition also allows the rest of the family to take comfort in knowing their loved one is being taken care of properly.

Reassuring your parent that moving to a secure and trusted environment is the best step for their health condition also allows the rest of the family to take comfort in knowing their loved one is being taken care of properly.

Step 2: Researching the Best Environment for Your Loved One

Before researching the perfect living situation for your loved one, set a few criteria you want an assisted living community to have. These guidelines can reflect your parent’s current health conditions to ensure they will receive the best treatment possible from the staff. Keep these criteria in mind while researching to make the search process more organized and helpful toward your and your parent’s next chapter in life.

Searching Communities Online

Often, family members will begin researching assisted living communities through online searches. The results will likely show the closest environment with the best ratings. This first step to familiarizing yourself with assisted living options in the area allows you to cross-reference different benefits offered in several communities.

In this situation, pay close attention to the reviews of each residential living space. Visiting the websites of each community can allow you to gain insight into their programs. However, you will only be able to see what they want you to see. The most honest remarks will come from online reviews from family members or residents, former residents and employees.

Asking People You Know

Another option for finding the right assisted living community for your loved ones is to ask those in your life about their preferences if they have been in this situation. If they also have a relative living in a community, they can advise which environments best suit their relative’s needs. A trusted source like this is beneficial in gaining insight into a specific community without the risk of falling into false advertisements.

However, remember that someone you know might only be familiar with one or two communities. Continue to ask about the preferences of individuals you trust, but do your own thorough research of their choices and your favorites so far.

Professional Referrals

Asking your parent’s physician about their preferred assisted living communities is beneficial when considering the medical treatment advantages. A doctor will have insight into the communities’ medical staff and treatment practices so they can recommend the most trusted places for your loved one. If they have had patients in the past move into assisted living communities, they can provide satisfaction rates from those in similar situations as your loved one.

This approach is helpful for professional recommendations, but the doctor may only know communities in a specific location due to their practice. Again, it benefits you and your parent to do your own research, but it is helpful to gain more knowledge from a trusted, licensed physician.

Step 3: Scheduling a Tour

Scheduling a tour with an assisted living community can help establish a strong connection with the staff and allow your parent to become familiar with the premises. Having the chance to meet one-on-one with an employee in the community is the perfect way to gain more insight into the everyday life of residents and the surrounding environment. You can take a tour online, in person or by conversing with the staff.

Going on a tour with your parent can allow them to get to know other residents as they pass by residential spaces and activity areas. Getting them familiar with the social life within the community can make the decision easier for your loved one. Their input is just as important as anyone else’s when choosing a comfortable environment where they might reside in the future.

Tours are the perfect time to prepare questions for the staff before making any decisions. Once you and your parent become acquainted with the community through sightseeing and discussions with the other residents, getting the chance to sit down with a faculty member can help bring any concerns to light. Before going on a tour, bring a list of questions to ask and encourage your loved one to think of a few before arriving.

Step 4: Asking Questions

Once you have scheduled a tour, determine what’s most important to you and your parent and build a list based on those areas of concern. What to look for in assisted living depends on your loved one’s needs and what they regularly require from staff members. This opportunity allows both parties to become more familiar with every aspect of the community, including how well the resident can adapt to the environment.

Questions About the Community

Here are some questions to ask when looking at assisted living:

  • How big is the community? Having many neighbors can help make the assisted living experience more exciting and memorable. Independence is vital for most residents as they move into a new environment. Luckily, having their own designated space to call home allows them to keep this independence and privacy while also providing them opportunities to socialize with their neighbors and the rest of the community.
  • What is the ratio of caregivers to residents? Before moving a loved one to an assisted living community, ask how many caregivers will be available for each resident. If your parent has a health condition that requires extra help, understanding the kind of assistance they will receive from several staff members can help ease the stress of finding the right community to care for them.
  • What floor plans are available? Various rooming options allow residents to make their space unique to their style and living preferences. Floor plans show the different square footage of each residential area. Residents can choose the best fit for them, including apartments with kitchens, larger living rooms and private bathrooms.

Questions About the People

Questions About the People

These are questions you might ask about the residents and staff in the community:

  • Are there ways to connect with other residents? Assisted living communities allow residents to socialize with others through various planned activities, closeby neighbors and designated gathering areas. While staff members prioritize every resident’s privacy and independence to ensure a comfortable living environment, scheduled events keep everyone active and social.
  • Are the staff genuinely caring? Although this question will typically result in the same answer from any staff member, take time to observe the behavior around you during your tour. If the staff is attentive and works positively with residents, the community would make a much better fit for your loved one as they adjust to a new yet supportive environment.
  • How much independence are residents given? This question allows you and your parent to catch a glimpse of the living situations within the community. Residential spaces should provide plenty of privacy for each individual. If your loved one needs regular support for their health, this is an excellent opportunity to ask how the staff can provide help throughout the day as necessary.
  • How does visiting work? Visiting options allow family members to remain in close contact with their loved ones in an assisted living community. Most environments encourage visits as much as possible to keep each resident active and supported. However, some communities take precautionary measures to ensure a safe visit for residents and family members. Since the pandemic, many communities have implemented visiting regulations to limit the spread of COVID-19. This step helps protect all community members, which can become an admirable point of judgment when searching for an assisted living environment that’s right for your parent.

Questions About the Amenities

Start with these questions about the community’s amenities:

  • What events take place? Assisted living communities prioritize each resident’s ability to grow in their freedom and creativity. Staff members regularly schedule events to enhance personal achievements through mental and physical activities and goal completion.
  • What services does the community provide? Assisted living community services help make life as easy as possible for all residents. These services include providing personal hygiene care, regular housekeeping and laundry, fresh and nutritious meals daily, health and wellness support and consistent life enrichment possibilities through supportive staff members.
  • What food do the residents eat? Home-cooked meals provide residents with healthy food options to enhance their physical health. This small detail is the best indicator of how well the staff cares about each individual. Warm meals throughout the day can make each resident feel at home as they sit down with neighbors for a relaxing gathering.
  • Is there a pool, fitness center, garden or salon? Indoor and outdoor recreations are a perfect way to keep residents occupied and active daily. These amenities can help residents maintain a hobby or gain a new one while exploring their options throughout the community. This addition to the environment also allows them more opportunities to socialize, enhance their mobility and get into a comfortable routine.

Questions About the Location

Here are some of the questions you might ask about the location:

  • What is near the community? Familiarity is essential for many residents. Being a part of the surrounding community can help them feel more involved and independent. Ask staff members about the events or landmarks in the area for your parent to visit in their free time. This question also allows you to ask if the surrounding area has high crime ratings.
  • What does transportation look like for residents? Along with the rest of the amenities each resident receives, assisted living communities often provide transportation services to and from living spaces. Residents can gain a sense of freedom by taking a stroll out in the neighboring areas and being back in time for a warm home-cooked meal.
  • How often do residents get the opportunity to leave the property? This question allows all residents to become familiar with the community’s schedules inside and outside the living spaces. Monitoring a parent with specific health conditions is vital for someone seeking round-the-clock care for their loved one. This opportunity also provides insight into the parent’s freedom within the community.

Trust Cappella of Pueblo West to Care for Your Loved Ones

Trust Cappella of Pueblo West to Care for Your Loved Ones

It is essential to talk with your loved ones to find out what’s most important to them in this next chapter of life. You can use these steps to help your research go smoothly as your parent starts on a new journey. During this time, always ensure your loved one is on board and will be happy in their potential home.

At Cappella of Pueblo West, we care deeply about the growth your parent can develop as they participate in community activities. Their health and happiness are our top priority, and we take great care to ensure their stay meets their personal needs at all times.

Not sure where to begin? Browse our website to learn about our services, philosophy of happiness and mission to ensure a life of enrichment for your loved one.

Contact us with any questions you may have or to get started and schedule a tour today!

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