Assisted Living Checklist

Choosing the right facility — Page 2

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  • Your loved one's income needs will increase from month-to-month due to inflation. The cost of long-term care has been increasing 4.5% per year, faster than inflation in general.

  • You need to decide how many years the income should last (the longer the period, the lower the income). Some people might use remaining life expectancy in a retirement calculator to estimate monthly payouts, but that would be a mistake. By definition, life expectancy is an average for all people; therefore, half of us will live longer than our life expectancy.

    Instead, you want to be as certain as possible, without overdoing it, that your loved one won't outlive their income. To accomplish that, we recommend you select a payout period based on a 90% probability that they won't. The following pull-down menus, based on the current age of your loved one, show our recommended payout periods for ages 65 through 90.

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  • Work with a trusted financial advisor to assist you in converting each financial asset into a stream of monthly payments.

Step Two: Select a general location

Once you've determined how much your loved one can afford to pay for assisted living, select the city or region where their facility should be. Go to our page Living Arrangements, including Assisted Living. There you will find a variety of Web sites to help you find assisted living facilities in the area that meets your criteria. (Many assisted living facilities are part of retirement communities that offer a wide variety of living arrangements from completely independent living to 24-hour skilled nursing care.)

Include your loved one in the selection process. After all, it is their future home you are selecting. The goal of assisted living is to allow the person to retain as much independence as circumstances permit. And, it is your role as a caregiver to help them maintain as much control over their lives as feasible, not take it away; this includes allowing them to make their own decisions whenever possible. And, be prepared to accept the fact that your loved one may have strong preferences about where they want to live even though their choice may not be the one you would prefer.

Step Three: Determine your loved one's needs

The types of care available varies widely from one assisted living facility to another. To be certain that a facility can provide the care necessary for your loved one, first determine what your loved one's needs truly are (they may be different than you think). We've included 3 excellent checklists in our section, Getting started — What kind of help does your loved one need?

When you compare assisted living facilities, some factors matter more than others. No perfect facility exists. Finding one that meets your needs is Goal Number 1. But don't underestimate Goal Number 2, that is, getting the facility to accept your loved one. When you tour a facility and interview its staff, be thorough, clear and professional. Show them that you're part of the solution and will work closely with them to achieve the best care possible for the new member of their community.

Be ready to:

  • Explain the type of care your loved one needs. Ask the facility to describe how it will meet those needs, for example, assistance with dressing, taking medications, incontinence, or general supervision. An assisted living facility should provide enough care and support to meet your loved one's needs while encouraging and allowing them to remain as independent as possible. And, don't forget that your loved one may need more care as time passes; ask questions that don't apply now, but may in the future.

  • Visit several facilities; services and fees will vary greatly. Our checklist will help you compare facilities and organize your impressions of different homes.

  • To help you find the right assisted living facility for your loved one, you could use the ElderCarelink service which has established a nationwide network of carefully screened facilities. ElderCarelink provides this referral service free of charge.

    Within minutes of completing their brief Needs Survey, you will receive a detailed email report listing assisted living facilities in your area that match your specific requirements. Last year, over 100,000 families utilized this service in their search for high-quality senior care. Click here to use the ElderCarelink service.

Step Four: Go

Make an appointment for a tour. Ask to see more than the public areas. Visit several residents' rooms. Ask if both you and your loved one can join the residents for lunch or dinner. And, if possible, stroll through the facility on your own. This will allow you to experience it without an official interpretation. Talk to the residents; ask them what they like most — and what they feel could be improved.

Take a deep breath and clear your mind. You're ready. (Take a blank checklist with you for each visit.)

 
Assisted Living Facility Checklist

Assisted Living Facility Checklist

 
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