Selecting senior housing can be a difficult process.
According to Stacie Feiock, marketing project manager at Maplewood Senior Living in Twinsburg, Chardon and Cuyahoga Falls, and Steven Raichilson, principal at Raichilson and Associates in Solon, the process should start with recalling one’s needs and goals.
“Try and find what you need,” Raichilson said. “There could be independent living, assisted living, nursing homes, and home care. If someone needs help and they don’t mind making the home into an assisted living situation, they could get what they need at home and maybe go to a facility later. Trying it at home first is a good place to start.”
Feiock added, “Typically, a search begins either in the geographic community that the resident has long resided in or in the community where their children/family live that it is easy to visit. However, the search may be based on care needs.”
Both the family and the senior in question play a part in the process. But according to Feiock, the senior’s involvement varies depending on the situation.
“Adult children and caregivers typically agonize over making decisions that they hope their parents would agree with or want,” she explained. “It’s so important to make your wishes known prior to needing care. This is especially important when it comes to a cognitive disorder or dementia. The aging adult may come to a point that they must rely on others to make decisions for them.”
But if a senior is capable of input, Feiock said involving them in the process is beneficial.
Raichilson agreed, adding the senior should take part in the final decision as they have to live with the choice.
“To the extent possible, the elder should take a look at the facility and the community around it,” he said. “When someone moves into a community, they have to be concerned with the community outside of the building. They also want to make sure the community offers a lifestyle they are interested in. What kind of people live here? Are they my kind of people? You want to visit the facility to make sure it’s the environment you want.”
When researching potential living situations, various aspects should be considered.
Feiock suggested three: clinical care/needs, finances and proximity to friends and family. She added clinical care should be first on one’s list.
Raichilson added proximity to friends and family includes one’s overall community.
“If you’re Jewish, you want to be somewhat close to your synagogue, just as much as you want to be close to your doctor, friends, familiar restaurants and shopping,” he said. “You want to look at the people who live there, the services they offer and if you can comfortably live there. You don’t want to be stressed out over the move.”
Comparing choices is the final step of selecting a senior community.
“You need to establish the type of senior community that is necessary based on the need for care,” Feiock said, stating the types of communities are independent living, assisted living, assisted living memory care and skilled nursing.
Suggesting once the individuals know what they need, Feiock said comparing options can allow them to plan for costs and other needs.
Raichilson suggested visiting each facility before making the final choice.
“Talk to people who live in these facilities and visit,” he said. “You should get a sense of if the people are happy and dressed appropriately. Are they smiling? Are they rich in design? Is it tired looking? And if it’s tired looking, you can imagine the care could be similar to that. You need to sample what you think is best for you. You’re starting a new lifestyle.”