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Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

Seniors at senior living community

We’ve written numerous times about the concept of aging in place, often noting that most senior citizens want the option of aging in place.

But for many seniors, remaining at home may not be practical. They might need the care and services that only a nursing home or assisted living community can provide.

Senior lady crocheting in her room in retire communityFinding the right place presents some challenges. According to Consumer Reports, the average cost in 2017 for a private bedroom in a senior living community was $45,000 a year.

And it’s hard to tell what kind of care you might receive. Two recent federal studies unearthed significant problems in some senior living centers. Again, from Consumer Reports:

“A study by the Government Accountability Office, published earlier this year, found significant gaps in the oversight of assisted living. Some 26 state Medicaid agencies were unable to report how many critical incidents, such as physical assault or emotional abuse, occurred in these facilities, often because the data was not tracked.

Another recent study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that money recovered by state Medicaid fraud units, which investigate and prosecute provider fraud and neglect, rose sharply, by more than 600 percent, in cases involving assisted living last year.”

They recommend five questions you should ask for choosing the right senior living community.

1. What kind of help is needed?

Doctor discussing treatment with senior female patient

Do you want to connect with other people? Are you having trouble with memory loss? Do you need more advanced medical care? Different facilities can provide various types of care – for example, some places have memory units for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Choosing the right senior living community might mean talking with your doctor to see what level of care you might need. You may also want to see if the activities the center offers fit with the types of things you or your loved one likes to do.

2. How good is the care?

Portrait of a smiling nurse with her senior patient in nursing homeTalk to your local Agency on Aging to see what kind of reputation the facility has. Depending on the state where you live, you might also be able to find licensing and inspection records online. These records can alert you to any reasons to be alarmed.

Find out if the facility has registered nurses on staff and make more than one visit to the center. Choosing the right senior center means seeing how these facilities operate on weekends and at mealtimes and finding out how residents and their families feel about the care they receive.

3. What will it cost?

Choosing the right senior living community may not be cheap. Make sure you get a complete list of fees. Find out what’s in the contract. Some places have all-inclusive costs for room and board, while others have a point system. Given the amount of money at stake, you might want to consult with an elder law attorney to review the contract.

Grandmother and granddaughter sitting on couch and holding hands of each other.4. Who will advocate for you?

Once you’ve found a residence that works for you or your loved one, it’s important to have friends and family members drop by on a regular basis to look for lapses in care. This is particularly important for older people who are incapacitated or otherwise unable to speak for themselves.

5. Is aging in place an option?

As we said at the beginning of this piece, there are times when aging in place isn’t an option, especially if you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s or another serious illness.

But what if the only thing preventing you or your loved one from enjoying full use of your home – and thus aging in place – is the staircase?

That’s where Pennsylvania Stairlifts can help. Having a stair lift in your home can allow you complete access to every floor of your house at a time when getting up and down the steps might be a challenge.

These devices can save you from having to live your life on one floor, and they can be the difference between aging in place and moving out. Contact us today to learn more.

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