There are many great things about getting older: You’ve gained extensive knowledge over the years, you have great stories to share and you’ve (hopefully) learned to not sweat the small stuff. There are also some big decisions as you age, including if and when to move from independent to assisted living arrangements.

Making the Transition to Assisted Living

There are many great things about getting older: You’ve gained extensive knowledge over the years, you have great stories to share and you’ve (hopefully) learned to not sweat the small stuff. There are also some big decisions as you age, including if and when to move from independent to assisted living arrangements.

Making the transition to assisted living is never an easy one. If you or a loved one is struggling with everyday activities, such as bathing, getting dressed, making meals or running errands, you may want to begin exploring assisted living options in your area. Here are some tips for starting your search:

  • Assess your financial, physical and lifestyle needs, including how much care is needed and how much you can afford.
  • Consider the pros and cons of different locations – proximity to home, family, shopping, parks, etc.
  • Find out if there are waiting lists for assisted living facilities in your area, and determine if the timing will work for you.
  • Visit as many facilities as you can with a loved one, asking lots of questions about the program and care procedures. Ask to see common areas, as well as several residents’ rooms. Also ask to eat a meal with the residents, taking the time to ask them questions about what they like about the facility and what they feel could be improved.
  • Ask to see a copy of the licensing or certification inspection report once you’ve narrowed down your search to two or three places.
  • Consider calling The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center to find out if there are any complaints against the facilities you’re interested in. To find out more about your local ombudsman, log onto www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman.*

An Emotional Journey

Don’t bottle up feelings of anxiety or sadness as you make decisions about living arrangements and care for yourself or a loved one. Try to be sensitive to the feelings of everyone involved and talk through any worries and fears that may arise. Avoid rushing decisions if possible, and ask for help (or offer it).

If you or a loved one is worried about meeting new people, make an effort to get acquainted with residents through social activities. If there are fears about what will happen to you or your loved one’s home or belongings, be sure to work through those issues together. Just remember: Family communication is key.

Keep Your Options Open

Perhaps you or a loved one needs more in-home help than family or friends can provide, but is not ready for assisted living or a nursing home care. You may want to review options for home care in your community, including Elder Care Alliance’s assisted living arrangements/home care program.

* Website provided for information only. No endorsement is implied.

Assisted Living Provides Extra Help

Assisted living programs typically provide:

  • Assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, bathroom breaks and transportation.
  • Wellness programs, including exercise.
  • Recreational activities.
  • Coordination of health and medical services, including medication management.
  • Three meals a day, typically served with other residents in a common area.
  • Housekeeping and security services.
  • Staff available 24/7.