The decision of where is the best place for an elderly loved one to live out their golden years can be challenging for families.
Most aging adults express the desire to age in place in their own homes. But, an elder may not be able to live in their home safely if, as time goes on, they develop issues performing day-to-day activities such as cooking, cleaning and paying their bills.
The notion of moving into a senior living community, such as assisted living, is typically regarded as a negative by elders and their families. However, a new study indicates that this stigma may be unwarranted.
Over 90 percent of adults in assisted living enjoy residing in their communities, according to a recent survey. The vast majority of elderly inhabitants rated their overall satisfaction with their community as either “good” or “excellent.”
About 44,000 older adults participated in the study, which was conducted by the National Research Corporation.
Moving a loved one to assisted living can be a contentious, difficult process for a family, but the results of this particular investigation suggest that many caregivers may be forcing themselves to go on an unnecessary guilt-trip.
What seniors want from communities
What can you do to help make sure your loved one falls into the considerable percentage of pleased residents?
In-person tours are a must for those who want to make sure a specific community is right for an elderly family member.
Researchers identified several factors that had a significant impact on the satisfaction of assisted living residents:
- A knowledgeable staff that treats residents with sensitivity and respect.
- A management team that is both approachable and responsive to resident issues.
- The opportunity to choose from a variety of amenities and preferences (i.e. menu selections, activities offered).
- A home-like atmosphere.
Some of these elements will be easier to gauge than others. During your visit, simple observation can reveal important information about that community’s atmosphere, selection of amenities as well as the overall competency of their staff.
Want the truth—talk to a tenant
But how do you know whether the people working at your loved one’s future home are sensitive and caring? How do you determine whether a community’s reality matches up with its marketed persona?
The answer may lie at the end of another question, directed at seniors currently living in a community you’re considering: Would you recommend this community to a friend who was looking for a place to live?
Think about it—you wouldn’t advise your friend to eat at a restaurant where the waiter was rude, or get their hair done by a beautician that gave you crooked bangs. The same logic applies to senior living situations.
Chatting with the residents may be the most beneficial part of your visit to an assisted living community. They are far more likely to offer you honest, unbiased feedback about the community. And you probably won’t have a hard time finding a talkative tenant.
Discover 12 more questions to ask current residents so you get the best senior living community feedback.
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By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor