Moving into an assisted living facility (ALF) is often the right choice when you realise you need some help with your daily routines. Choosing the facility you wish to live in, however, can be a challenge since there are many factors you will have to consider.
Here are some points to keep in mind as you search for the best ALF for you.
What to expect from an ALF – An ALF is sometimes called a personal care home or an assisted living community. It offers the ideal setting for seniors who treasure their independence but are not able to live safely without some assistance. Within an ALF, residents usually live in their own private apartments with access to housekeeping, transportation and nursing services, as well as medication management and social activities. ALFs typically provide one to three meals per day.
Visit as many as you can – The location you choose will be your home for many years to come. Plus, you will be depending on its caregivers and services to make your senior years more manageable. It is, therefore, very important to get a firsthand look at as many of them as possible. Having a family member or friend, whose opinion you trust, accompany you is always a good idea. They can share their perspective with you and may pick up on details you miss.
Compare cost – Some locations charge on a long-term basis but most charge a basic monthly rate with extra fees for special services. In 2017, the average monthly rate for a one-bedroom apartment in an ALF was $3,750. Some states offer assistance with the costs through Medicaid. There are ALFs which operate as charities and are funded by the kindness of donors. One example is Soaring Eagle for Northern Cheyenne Elders in southeastern Montana. It was set up as a way to keep elders in the community they are familiar with and can continue to
- Is the facility licensed? Don’t just assume that because the location is up and running, it is doing so legally. Ask to see proof and do your own checks to validate. Also, find out whether the facility has ever had its licence revoked and, if so, why. You can also enquire about recent inspections and the performance rating received.
- Are pets allowed? If you have pets which you are hoping to keep with you, some ALFs allow pets and offer animal care services for a fee. Special permission may be required depending on the number and type of pets you have.
- What social activities are in place? Apart from the opportunity to socialise with fellow residents, ask if there are other activities such as learning skills and hobbies, or exercise and education programmes. Most ALFs schedule outings, so be sure to find out the type and frequency of these.
The decision to move into a long-term care facility is never an easy one to make. Thoroughly researching the options will help to ensure you choose the assisted living facility which is best for you as you move into the next phase of your life.
Dennis Relojo is the founder of Psychreg and is also the Editor-in-Chief of Psychreg Journal of Psychology. Aside from PJP, he sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, and is a Commissioning Editor for the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. A Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society, Dennis holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Hertfordshire. His research interest lies in the intersection of psychology and blogging. You can connect with him through Twitter @DennisRelojo and his website.