Making the Choice – A Guide to Long-Term Care

The decision has been made and the time has come to help an aging loved-one select a long-term care facility but the task may seem overwhelming. Where to begin? There are many things to consider when choosing care for seniors ready to make the move into assisted living. The following checklist will help to alleviate fear and worry about making the wrong choice.

Selecting Assisted Living:  Part 1 – Assessing Needs

Before you can compare facilities, the needs of the senior must be assessed. This will shorten the list and make the decision more manageable. Budget will also narrow the field; so the first two questions when shopping for long-term care should be, “Does this facility meet the senior’s needs now in the foreseeable future?” and “Can you afford to live here for the rest of your life?”

When deciding what type of facility to seriously consider, try to think ahead to avoid multiple moves which can be very disruptive for the elderly. Senior housing can range widely from Independent Living and Supported Living facilities to Assisted Living and finally Long Term Care. Some facilities offer several stages of care within one location and this can be of great benefit to avoid the stress of moving many times.

Needs Checklist

  • Is the facility easy to navigate with a walker, wheelchair or scooter?
  • Are there grab bars or other assistive  devices in the bathroom?
  • What care services are available and at what cost?
  • Is housekeeping and laundry included?
  • Is nursing care provided? Is a doctor readily available?
  • How are prescription medication managed?
  • What are the provisions for meals?
  • Is there a good balance of privacy and interaction? Is it quiet?
  • What security/emergency measures are in place?
  • Is there a service for assistance with shopping or appointments?
  • Are there religious services on site?
  • If there a salon for hair cuts or nail care?
  • What are the activities?

Next – Part 2 – Questions to ask and what to look for when visiting potential facilities.