There are approximately 30,000 residential care communities scattered across the United States, so finding the perfect one can get tricky. Because of this, many seniors rely on feedback from referral sites, local advisors, caseworkers or trusted medical providers before making a decision. Instead of recommending the same homes for every older adult, consider these five factors before suggesting the best senior living community.
Some seniors find it difficult to leave their current home, so they may benefit from a similar environment. That may mean selecting an urban community in a bustling city, a lively community in a suburban setting or a rural community surrounded by woods or spacious fields. Elderly adults may also want a home near their loved ones so they can keep in touch with friends or family members, especially if they have grandchildren.
If there are no nearby senior living communities, research crime rates for surrounding cities and talk to staff about security measures. This provides peace of mind that your referral can relax in a safe community, day or night. You may also want to ask about visitation policies and find out when, if ever, staff members visit the rooms of residents unannounced. Many communities thoroughly screen all staff, from housekeepers to health care workers, before letting them work around elderly adults. Sharing this information may help a senior and their loved ones feel more comfortable when you refer them to a specific community. Brightview currently has 40 community locations throughout eight states.
After retirement, seniors often find their budgets become less flexible. Encourage your patient or client to take an honest look at how much care they can afford, and tailor your suggestions accordingly. If a senior has their heart set on a specific community but is unsure whether they can afford the fees, encourage them to talk to staff members about their concerns. Older adults may also find they can save money on senior living costs by trying some of these suggestions:
- Sharing a home with another resident
- Choosing a studio apartment or another small apartment home in the community
- Removing fee-based amenities from a monthly plan
- Limiting community-based meals to the ones included with rent
- Asking insurance providers if they can help cover expenses
- Looking for a community that provides free cable, maintenance, internet or other perks that seniors use regularly
When you discuss costs with a staff member or referral agent, make sure you get a full rundown of all fees, including taxes, annual membership fees, meal costs and other expenses. You should also ask if the rate is guaranteed for a set period of time, and if not, how much it might increase over time.
Senior living communities offer activities for every ability and personality, but each community has its own amenities. Discuss activities and events the potential resident enjoys, then find out which homes offer them. For example, you may have your heart set on finding a community with a great fitness program, or you may want to help your patient find a community with an array of daily programs.
If you don't see an activity your client enjoys listed on a senior living community website, talk to staff. You may find they can offer the activity anyway if enough residents are interested in participating. Brightview offers a variety of resident enrichment programs.
4. Current Level of Care
The needs of elderly adults often change over time, so it's wise to suggest a community that offers different levels of care. Brightview Senior Living offers a variety of care options including:
Seniors may find it helpful if you recommend a versatile community with multiple care options, as this can help avoid unwanted transitions to a new home later in life.
Consider an senior living community's credentials before offering a referral. Caretakers and seniors often mistakenly assume that all licensed senior living communities are accredited by reputable agencies, but this isn't always a requirement. Many state and federal agencies simply require licensure, not accreditation, for senior living homes. You can often get this information by requesting it directly from senior living communities, but another option is to check AAA or similar sites.
Senior living has many perks, whether you're seeking a home for an active senior or someone who needs help with daily tasks. Schedule a visit to learn more about how we help older adults make the most of each day in our friendly community.