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How To Choose an Assisted Living Community: A Guide for Success

Date: June 07, 2024 | Article | Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you or a loved one needs a little extra help to live life to the fullest, assisted living offers a wonderful solution. Imagine a place where daily chores and worries fade away, friendships blossom, and each day offers new possibilities for engagement and joy. 

This blog will be your guide on how to choose an assisted living community. We’ll explore details on care needs and provide you with an assisted living tour checklist to make this transition into a new chapter a smooth and positive experience for everyone involved.

Understanding Care Needs: The Key To Finding the Right Fit

Assisted living communities offer varying levels of support. Identifying your loved one’s specific needs will ensure you target the appropriate communities and avoid paying for services they don’t require. Here’s how to break it down:

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

ADLs (activities of daily living) are the fundamental self-care tasks we all perform. Consider these questions about your loved one:

  • Bathing: Do they need help getting in/out of the shower or tub safely?
  • Dressing: Can they choose appropriate clothes and put them on independently?
  • Eating: Do they need help cutting food or assistance with feeding themselves?
  • Personal Hygiene: Can they manage bathroom needs safely and hygienically?
  • Transferring: Can they get in and out of bed, stand up from a chair, or move around without significant assistance?
  • Continence: Do they need help managing incontinence?

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

IDALs (instrumental activities of daily living) are slightly more complex tasks essential to independent living. Ask yourself these questions about your loved one: 

  • Medication Management: Can they follow prescription instructions correctly and take their medications without reminders or assistance?
  • Meal Preparation: Can they plan and prepare simple meals safely?
  • Housekeeping: Are they able to maintain basic cleanliness and organization in their living space?
  • Transportation: Do they need assistance or can they no longer drive safely?
  • Managing Finances: Can they handle bills and financial matters independently?

Levels of Care: Choosing a Community That Meets Your Needs

While assisted living communities offer a supportive environment, their capacity to help residents varies. Here’s a breakdown to help you determine whether a particular community can meet your loved one’s needs:

Minimal Assistance

This level is suited for individuals who are largely independent but might need help with a few ADLs like bathing, dressing, or medication reminders. The community should have staff readily available to offer this support, but residents would generally maintain a high degree of autonomy in their daily routines.

Moderate Assistance

This level is designed for those requiring more consistent support with several ADLs. Residents might need help with mobility, personal hygiene, or managing medications throughout the day. The  community should have a higher staff-to-resident ratio to ensure residents receive timely and personalized care.

High Needs/Extensive Care

This level caters to individuals who require significant ongoing support with most or all ADLs.  The community should have staff with advanced training in providing comprehensive care, including incontinence management, transferring assistance, and potentially some basic medical needs.

At The Delaney® at The Green, we understand each person’s needs are unique. Our care team is here to provide tailored support with daily tasks like bathing, dressing, grooming, and medication management – always respecting each resident’s choices and individuality. Learn more about assisted living at The Delany by exploring our website.

Senior woman smiling while sitting on her couch

Preparing for a Tour: Crafting Your Assisted Living Checklist

Navigating assisted living options can be complex. A well-prepared checklist brings clarity to the tour process and eases the decision-making journey. Use this guide to pinpoint the factors that will not only provide top-notch care for you or a loved one but also provide a vibrant environment to thrive in.

Meals and Dining

  • Variety and quality of food options
  • Catering to dietary restrictions (allergies, diabetes, etc.)
  • Pleasant and social dining atmosphere 
  • Flexible mealtimes or snack availability

Care Support

  • Types of assistance with ADLs available (bathing, dressing, etc.)
  • Medication management (not all communities offer this valuable service)
  • Availability of on-site medical staff (RN, visiting doctors)
  • Emergency response procedures

Activities & Socialization

  • Wide calendar of engaging events (fitness, hobbies, games, entertainment)
  • Outings and community excursions
  • Spaces for mingling (lounge areas, hobby rooms)
  • Opportunities for family/visitor involvement

Amenities

  • Fitness area/classes
  • Library or business center
  • Salon services
  • Outdoor spaces (gardens, walking paths)
  • Worship space or services
  • Regular shuttles for outings, appointments and errands

Picking the Perfect Fit: Beyond the Checklist

After visiting several assisted living communities and diligently checking boxes on your list, you might find yourself with a handful of strong contenders. How do you choose the one that truly feels like the “right fit” for you or your loved one? Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Trust Your Gut: Don’t underestimate your intuition. During your tours, pay close attention to the overall atmosphere. Does it feel warm, welcoming and positive? Do residents seem happy and engaged?
  • Resident Interactions: Chat with residents if possible. Get a sense of their experiences and overall satisfaction with the community.
  • Staff Interactions: Observe how staff members interact with residents. Are they patient, respectful, and genuinely invested in their care? Notice how residents respond to the staff.
  • Imagine You or Your Loved One There: Can you realistically picture you or your family member thriving in this environment? Does it offer activities and amenities that align with their interests?
  • Trial Stays: Many communities offer short-term stays or respite care programs. This could be a valuable way for your loved one to experience the community firsthand and ease any anxieties about the transition.
  • Go Back for a Second Look: Don’t feel pressured to make a decision after just one visit. If possible, schedule a follow-up visit, perhaps at a different time of day or on a weekend, to get a more well-rounded picture.

Choosing an assisted living community is a significant decision. Take your time, prioritize your loved one’s needs and preferences, and trust your gut feeling. The ideal community will feel warm and inviting, offering a supportive and enriching environment where you or your loved one can flourish.

Group of seniors talking and laughing in the park

Providing a Helping Hand and a Fulfilling Retirement 

At The Delaney® at The Green, assisted living isn’t just about receiving care – it’s about embracing a better lifestyle. Enjoy delicious meals, engage in activities you’re passionate about, and build meaningful connections with others. 

Whether your ideal day involves lively social events or quiet moments of relaxation, we tailor a plan that celebrates your individuality. To experience The Delaney difference, schedule your tour by calling 973-784-8088 or contacting our team online.