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Chances are, choosing an assisted living community isn’t something you do every day. You may have never even considered it before. With so many different communities available, it can be tough to narrow the choices down to just a few. What amenities are important? How can you be sure you or your loved one will get the necessary care? How’s the food? How much will it cost?

Fortunately, if you ask the right questions and tour the various communities, you can quickly narrow down the options. Here are a few key things to look for during your search.

The Comfort of Living Spaces

Moving into an assisted living community doesn’t mean giving up the comforts of home. Each resident will have options for living space, and it’s essential that you see what that area will look like before committing. You should also determine whether your loved one can customize the space with items from home. Consider if they allow pets and how often visitors are permitted. Another thing to consider is if family members and friends are allowed to stay the night in the resident apartments. Think about what comforts of home are really important to you or your loved one, and don’t be afraid to voice any concerns when touring a potential senior living community.

Quality of Care Provided

Many communities provide varying levels of assistance, offering everything from help with everyday tasks to simply having a medical professional on hand in case care is needed. Make sure the community you’re considering offers the level of care your loved one needs or will need in the future. If these services are offered at a cost, ask for a breakdown of what you’ll be expected to pay.

Activities and Amenities

One of the best things about moving into an assisted living community is that your loved one will have daily interactions with others. Social interactions are essential to our quality of life as we age. Ask about the activities and programs provided to residents. Many assisted living communities keep an events calendar that can give you a feel for regular happenings. Ask if the community provides transportation for things like grocery shopping and daily activities outside of the community.

Dining and Fitness

Your loved one’s health is the top priority. It’s important to be sure that the community will provide nutritious, high-quality meals on a regular basis, and healthy snacks in between those meals. Activity is also important, even if it’s as simple as morning stretching exercises. Small things like fitness centers and workout classes can make a big difference when choosing between your favorite options.

Cost

It’s important to determine ahead of time how much your monthly cost will be, as well as any fees for add-ons like transportation and healthcare. Medicare may pay for some medical expenses, but generally speaking, anything that falls under the heading of custodial care will be out of pocket.

If you know the features that are most important to you or your loved one from the start, your search for the right assisted living community will flow much more smoothly. You’ll then be able to look specifically for each of those features at every community you visit, eventually choosing the one that most closely fits your own list of specifications.

Author John C. Ruedi Regional Marketing Specialist

John has been involved in the financial services industry since 1979. He is a graduate of the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin.

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