So, you and your aging parent have decided that it’s time to find a senior care facility. How do you choose? This process involves a lot of communication, so it’s good to prepare for the process.

Tip 1: Learn About Different Kinds of Facilities

There are a lot of different kinds of facilities to choose from. For an elder without major health issues, a 65+ community (often called “retirement homes”) may be a great option. For others, nursing homes or assisted living may be a better fit. Boutique senior living offers elements that may be attractive to many elders. Try to think in both the short term and longer term, as moves can take a lot of time and energy.

Tip 2: Location, Location, Location

Location is important, not only for the specific facilities, but in terms of town or region. If your elder has lived in the same town for most of their life, they may want to stay close. If they have grandchildren in the picture, they might instead want to move to be closer to their kids and grandkids. If they have particular medical concerns, proximity to a particular hospital might be a benefit. Talk through the things that are important to them in terms of location, which can help you narrow your focus.

Tip 3: Tour Different Facilities

It can be helpful to visit a wide range of facilities, to help you get a sense of what services are offered and how different facilities “feel”. While it can be overwhelming at first, after you’ve visited several places, you’ll start getting a sense of what questions to ask and what to look for.

Tip 4: Start Early

The process of finding a facility is much more stressful when you’re doing it on a tight timeline. By starting early, you can be more leisurely with your research, take lots of time to communicate with your elder, and think about logistics like packing. In addition, if you find the perfect place and there’s a waiting list, this gives you an opportunity to put your name on the list.

In many cases, finding a new place to live can be a positive change for your parent and your whole family. With the support that they need, many elders can find new social relationships and feel safe and empowered in a new living situation.

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