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Assisted Living, Simplified

by Genevieve Blaber

While life has its changes, the transition from an independent lifestyle to Assisted Living does not always come naturally. It's a choice that can only be made with the proper support, advice, and information. Before you and your family make the final move to an Assisted Living facility, read over these eight essential tips....

1. Visit assisted living communities.
The best way to judge whether senior housing is the right choice, is with a first-hand look. Find different facilities in your area and arrange visits to get a feel for their atmospheres and accommodations.

2. Ease in with temporary living.
Some assisted living facilities allow residents to move in on a temporary basis-a great opportunity for seniors who are unsure of whether the change is right for them. You or your loved one will receive all of the benefits of a regular residency with the ability to return home at the end of your stay.

3. Build a social circle.
A great aspect of an assisted living community is the level of interaction it promotes amongst residents. Seniors are able to visit each other's apartments, attend facility-organized events such as dances, and even create their own hobby clubs and groups. Try to visit one or more of these events while touring so that you or your loved one can meet residents who share similar interests.

4. Research amenities.
The services provided by an assisted living facility can vary from residence to residence. Take stock of your or your loved one's needs and find the community that best fulfills them. While some seniors may only need help with laundry and cooking others may require additional help in the form of transportation, housekeeping, and assistance with administering medication.

5. Listen to others.
Ask senior housing residents their opinions and what you should expect from assisted living communities. Some may have lived in multiple facilities and will be able to give you perspective for making your decision.

6. Handling property.
Before you begin packing, make time for sorting through personal effects. While most items will likely stay with you, your loved one, or your family, don't be in a rush to throw away the rest. It may be worth hiring an appraiser to go over the items before you end up selling a priceless vase at a five-dollar yard sale.

7. Stay close.
Hopefully, you will be able to find an assisted living community in your area. Whether of not you do, make an effort to visit your loved one or loved ones. If you are the one moving into senior housing, visiting home will help maintain your sense of independence. If your family member is making the move, visits will help create a sense of home in a new place..

8. Check in.
Though assisted living communities are often home to trained medical staff and round-the-clock support, it's imperative that you stay aware of your senior's living environment and habits. Call often and be open to cues that your loved one needs a great level of care or assistance.

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Assisted living communities have a definite edge over others because they take care of your medical and personal needs. As you age, it may not be possible for you be as independent as you were and this is where choosing as assisted living community is a big help. (
by David Norman submitted on Jun 10, 2009

In assisted living, is it required that a person has the ability to transfer to a wheelchair themself and get out of bed by themselves? What if a resident does not have the ability to self transfer -- does that qualify them for assisted living? How many CNA's should there be for 15 residents? Please advice
by Josie Martinez submitted on Nov 19, 2009

Hi Josie, Each state has its own licensing requirements and allowable services for assisted living facilities, and some facilities offer varying levels of care. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, about 19 percent of residents need assistance with transferring. It is best to check with the individual community to determine its facility and third-party scope of care. As for CNA staffing ratios, these are determined by state regulations and resident needs and they generally vary according to day, evening, or night shifts. Some communities use a per-resident formula; others use level of care to determine staffing levels. Some aging experts believe the appropriate staffing ratio during peak care hours should be one CNA to every five or six patients. Best regards,
by Gina LaGuardia submitted on Dec 1, 2009

These 8 tips are great advice for people who are about to retire or in their elder years. Finding living space is a chronic problem and acquiring the proper information is tantamount to their living without stress.
by robert hutton submitted on Mar 24, 2010

How does one pay for living in a assisted living facility in central Florida. My aunt has medicaid coverage and medicare. Will both of these take care of the fees?
by bettye neely submitted on Apr 22, 2010

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