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A Guide to Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community

A Guide to Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community

When it comes time to consider assisted living for your loved one, it can be an emotional decision for the whole family. The good news is that there are many excellent, high-quality senior living options to choose from. Finding the right assisted living community can make all the difference in easing the transition for your family. 

Knowing what to look for, the right questions to ask, and what your loved one needs and wants will help you make an informed and loving decision and ensure your family member’s well-being. This article has some excellent steps you can take as you begin the process of choosing the best assisted living community for your loved one.

Assess Your Loved One’s Needs and Preferences

The first step in the process is to assess your loved one’s needs. What sets assisted living communities apart from other senior living options (e.g., retirement communities and neighborhoods, 55+ apartment buildings, etc.) is the access to assistance with activities of daily living. 

If your loved one could use help with activities of daily living like bathing, grooming, getting dressed, eating, or managing their medication, assisted living gives them 24-hour access to the care they need. Many assisted living communities offer these personal care services, including dining services, laundry and housekeeping, and other amenities like chauffeured transportation, scheduled social events and outings, game rooms, exercise centers and classes, and more. 

You might also discuss and think about their future care needs. For instance, if your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it’s essential to find an assisted living community that is equipped to handle any specialized continuing care, like memory care. 

Memory care often includes additional cognitive therapy options and increased environmental security measures. Certain BridgeWater Assisted Living community locations have assisted living and memory care options, so your loved one would not have to worry about moving should their care needs change.

Whenever possible, involve your loved one in the decision-making process. Ask about their preferences and values. What is the most important to them? A thriving social network? A peaceful location? Proximity to family? Once you know what they are looking for, it will help narrow down your choices.

Decide on the Desired Location

When it comes to real estate, you’ve probably heard the adage “location, location, location.” This adage holds true when looking at assisted living communities as well. If most of your family members live near each other, it would make sense to find assisted living nearby so that everyone can visit and stay involved. 

If the family is more spread out, consider a somewhat centralized location that is easily accessible and convenient for everyone to visit. For instance, if family members fly in from other parts of the country, you might look at communities in urban areas or ones with an airport within easy driving distance. Of course, you also want to consider your loved one’s preferences. 

Arizona is one of the most popular destinations for seniors when they retire, and it makes perfect sense. Between the average of 300 days of sunshine per year, a lower cost of living, beautiful surroundings, and a wide range of outdoor and recreational options for all ages, Arizona is a lovely place to live or visit. 

If your loved one prefers somewhere with mild weather, lovely, peaceful scenery, and easy access to nearby amenities (especially hospitals, shopping, and parks), you can’t go wrong with assisted living in Arizona. With seven locations in Arizona and one in Castle Rock, Colorado, the assisted living communities of BridgeWater offer affordable, excellent senior living in the best locations.

Set a Reasonable Budget

The costs of assisted living communities vary widely based on location, amenities, size of the community, and level of care desired. It can be helpful to set a budget beforehand, based on the financial options available to your family, to help pay for assisted living. Explore as many financial solutions as possible, including long-term care insurance and government assistance programs like Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, or Supplemental Security Income. Sometimes, meeting with a professional financial planner can help uncover options you did not know were available.

Once you have a budget in mind, it will help narrow your list of choices. The American Health Care Association’s National Center for Assisted Living provides a useful consumer’s guide that includes a cost calculator to help you determine the estimated monthly costs of the various assisted living communities on your list. Using this cost calculator can make comparing and contrasting your options easier.

Schedule a Tour

After completing the above steps, you will have a short list of assisted living communities meeting your criteria. Do as much research online about these communities as possible, looking at their websites and social media and reading reviews. Ask healthcare professionals and friends if they have any experience with these communities. Then, schedule a tour to visit each community on your list in person. To help make comparing assisted living communities easier, the American Association of Retired Persons (now known as AARP) has compiled a checklist of essential questions to ask about each community when you call and when you visit.  

In general, assess the cleanliness, safety (e.g., medical emergency response systems in residences; secure entrances and exits; fire safety, etc.), and general feeling (e.g., is the environment full of light and cheerful?). Speak with current residents and families to hear about their experiences if you can. 

Ensure that the community has everything your loved one might need in the future, such as access to physical therapy, memory care, or other specialized services. Try to visit more than once at different times to get a more realistic sense of the community and its residents, including during meals and social activities.

When it comes down to it, trust your instincts and any feedback your loved one gives you about different communities. Sometimes, assisted living communities offer short-term or respite care opportunities, which give your loved one a chance to test the waters and experience what living in the community is like before making a final decision.

When you and your family choose assisted living at BridgeWater communities, you can rest easy knowing that our goal is to empower every resident to live well. We are proud to provide a worry-free lifestyle that is accessible and affordable, focusing on holistic wellness – body, mind, and spirit. Our residents enjoy an active and vibrant social life while we take care of everything else. We would love for your family to consider assisted living BridgeWater communities in your search for just the right place for your loved one. Contact us today to schedule a tour. We can’t wait to meet you!