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Moving on: Tips for Selecting a Senior Living Community

By Patricia OíDea-Evans, MS, RN, LCPC, CCM

(Page 1 of 3)

Making the move to a senior living community can be one of the biggest life changes for an older adult.  Thankfully, todayís wide range of eldercare options means that there is literally something for everyone in terms of care levels and cost.

The key to finding the perfect senior housing solution involves a careful analysis of whatís needed and research on whatís available. Here are some tips for success.

Getting Started

A good first step is to get the senior and any friends or family involved in the process to make a list of preferred services and amenities, along with any questions or concerns.   The list can then be used to compare and contrast when visiting potential new homes.

Like most professionals, we recommend that clients consider only those facilities that are licensed by the state in which they are located.  Licensing ensures that employees have undergone background checks, that they are fully trained and are held accountable for all that they do.

Licensed facilities also require signed contracts prior to move-in.   All contracts are different, and each building has its own unique set of rules, which can vary regarding such issues as deposit refunds, contract termination, and even personal property insurance. We advise clients to make sure that everything is in writing, and that they understand it all.  We also recommend having an elder law attorney review the contract.

Recent downturns in our nationís economy mean that perhaps more than ever, cost is a consideration in selecting a senior living community. For each property being considered, itís important to find out exactly whatís included, versus what costs extra (usually services such as hair care, special trips, classes, or extra personal care).

Of course, paying for care is frequently a concern.  Veteransí and Social Security benefits tend to be overlooked, but can help with eldercare costs for eligible seniors.


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