As an adult with older parents, you may find yourself helping your parent research to find the perfect senior living community. Many questions will need to be answered. What type of senior living community do they want? Where can they get the best possible care into the future? Will they be able to afford the community throughout their lives?
These are the types of questions you will need to ask. It may not be easy. As in life, it may be difficult to talk to your parents about delicate topics such as finances, health, home costs, home values, income and medical records, but without these answers, you will not be able to assist them in making good choices for their future. Sit down and have frank discussions with your parents. Get the answers you need to start the search.
Here are some questions to consider:
1. What is the current state of their health?
Are your parents able to live independently? Are they able to perform the key acts of daily living or ADLs? Activities of daily living (ADLs) are basic tasks that must be accomplished every day for an individual to thrive. Generally, ADLs can be broken down into the following categories:
- Personal hygiene: Bathing, grooming, oral, nail and hair care
- Continence management: A person’s mental and physical ability to properly use the bathroom
- Dressing: A person’s ability to select and wear the proper clothes for different occasions
- Feeding: Whether a person can feed themselves or needs assistance
- Ambulating: The extent of a person’s ability to change from one position to the other and to walk independently
If they can live independently, this will help guide you in what type of community to look for. Start by looking at communities that have independent living options. If your parent or parents need more assistance - including assistance with any of the ADLs above - then you will want to search for communities that offer higher levels of care and assistance.
2. What type of community makes sense?
There are many types of senior living communities. There are communities that offer full continuums of care called Life Plan Communities such as Kendal at Granville. These communities offer independent living, assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing care. This ensures residents can access every level of care within the same community. There are other communities that may only have independent living and assisted living options, but not skilled nursing care. Some have only independent living or assisted living or memory care. The type of community you choose may be determined by the level of care your parents or parents anticipate.
The advantage of a Life Plan Community is that residents can make one move and live the lifestyle they want to with the peace of mind that if they ever need more care or assistance, they will be taken care of within the same community. They will not have to move somewhere else.
3. Will they be able to afford the community they want?
After working through the type and appropriate care level wanted and needed by your parent or parents, the next step is to determine if they can afford it. This question will take the most time and energy to work through.
What is their current financial situation? What type of assets do they have? What is their current housing situation? Do they live in a home that they solely own? What is their home’s value? Will they have to sell this home to move into the new community? How are they currently paying for costs now? What is their monthly income? Have they already started to plan for their long-term medical care costs with a long-term healthcare policy? If they have a long-term health care policy, what are its terms and payouts? Make sure you understand all the details.
When looking at types of communities, make sure you understand entrance plans for these communities. In most Life Plan Communities, a one-time entrance fee is required to join the community. Thereafter, a monthly fee is paid for amenities the community offers such as dining plans, utilities, and transportation. The community could also include amenities such as a fitness center, a pool, or an activity center. Some may have all or some health care benefits included as well. Find out what future healthcare costs are covered and what is not.
Some senior living campuses are considered rental communities, in which there is no one-time entrance fee, only a monthly fee for a set number of amenities. Often, this does not include any healthcare coverage. Communities are different and offer various amenities and add-ons. Find out the details when you do your research.
4. Have you visited possible senior living communities?
The most important step finding the right home for your loved ones is to spend time and visit senior living communities. As mentioned above, there are many different types of communities catering to various levels of care that have many different offerings for seniors. Where will they be most comfortable? What amenities are important to them?
Take your parents on your visits, tour communities, and sit down with the community’s counselors to find out the specifics. If living in a community independently is important to them, make sure you start your search sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until health issues arise. Once that happens, it will reduce your choices.
Senior living communities are wonderful options for people to not only enjoy life but to THRIVE. However, finding the right one takes time and patience.
Whatever your parents’ situation is, don’t wait. Start the process today and begin asking questions. You can schedule a personalized tour of the Kendal at Granville community here.