7 Factors Often Overlooked when Searching for a Senior Living

7 Factors Often Overlooked when Searching for a Senior Living

When you're searching for the right senior living community for yourself or an elderly loved one, many families base their shortlist on several different factors: how the residents' living spaces are designed, which indoor and outdoor activities are available, what kind of food is served in the dining hall, the overall cost of living in the community, and so on.

However, there are some important considerations that many families might not think of asking about when attempting to find the right senior living community, especially if they're going through the process on their own or for the first time. These factors can show you several subtle but significant differences between how each community operates, helping you make the best decision based on complete information.

Whether you're looking for Assisted Living, Memory Care, or Independent Living for an older adult you care about, here are seven factors that are often overlooked when searching for a senior living community on their own:

Food flexibility

Most Assisted Living/Memory Care communities serve residents three meals every day (in Independent Living, one meal is usually included with the rental fees). However, if your older loved one has special dietary requirements or preferences, how flexible is the kitchen willing to be? Older adults want the ability to choose what they eat, so review sample community menus or have a meal in the dining hall to see if there is a wide variety of alternate food options at every meal to satisfy your loved one's needs.

Resident council meetings

Many senior living communities have residents' groups. They regularly meet in a private space to discuss issues important to their quality of life within the community. These meetings often result in written requests for management to consider, along with accountability steps if requests are addressed. Staff, visitors, and resident family members can only attend if invited by the group. Ask to visit a council meeting to get a sense of the residents' feelings about the community, what issues are discussed, and how the problems are resolved. Residents have a right to form councils, so if a senior community you're considering doesn't have one, think twice before moving a loved there.

Religious and spiritual services and support

Many older adults prioritize finding a community that meets their spiritual needs. Find out whether the facility you're considering offers spiritual leadership from an established religious leader, regular religious services, access to religious texts, a space for sharing faith practices with others, last rites, and meals that accommodate religious requirements.

Abuse prevention guidelines

No one wants to think about a loved one being abused in any way. However, as difficult as this topic can be for some, it needs to be addressed so your family has peace of mind that their relative will always be safe from harm. Many senior living communities have established excellent guidelines for preventing abuse that establish boundaries between the staff and residents. They also detail consequences when someone breaks the rules to help prevent neglect or abuse. Make sure you understand the details of the abuse prevention guidelines of every community you're considering.

Dispute resolution policies and procedures

Although many senior community communities offer their residents an optimum quality of life, not everything can go as perfectly as planned. When you or the resident need to lodge a complaint, will it be heard, validated, and resolved to the best of their ability? There should be a dispute resolution policy and a list of key people to contact with complaints. Knowing that you and your loved one will have a voice in the event of an issue will bring your family peace of mind.

Mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts

Also known as forced arbitration, mandatory arbitration clauses are found in many senior living contracts. This clause states that all disagreements be settled by a third-party arbitrator and not in court or public view. It also removes your right to file a lawsuit in the event of neglect or abuse allegations. Be sure to have a lawyer review the contract before signing, and consider removing any mandatory arbitration clauses they find. If the senior living legal team considers arbitration non-negotiable, you can decide whether to take the risk.

Future improvement and development plans

No business is without areas of improvement, but only the good ones recognize and take proactive steps to solve them. Senior living communities are no different. They'll already know what they want to do to improve efficiencies, upgrade staff training, add more healthcare services, and other ideas that enhance the residents' quality of life. Ask about what the future holds for the senior living community you're visiting and consider how their plans will improve the well-being of your older loved one.

The best choice is an informed choice, so be sure to discuss these and other items with a senior living staff member during your initial meeting to get all the information you need. It's essential to cover as much ground as possible early in the process so you can decide whether to shortlist the community or drop it altogether.

Find an Independent Living, Assisted Living or Memory Care in the Greater Cincinnati Area

Searching for a Senior Living Community can be a confusing and complex process, especially when you're doing it for the first time. Make sure you make the most informed choice on where your loved one will spend their vintage years with help from David Flautt of Assisted Living Locators of Greater Cincinnati.

David takes the time to get to know your loved one's situation, answer all of your questions, and present a list of the best-matched Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimer's/Memory Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities in the Greater Cincinnati Area. David or one of his team will even accompany you on your community tours to ensure that all the right questions are answered so you can make the most informed choice possible.

Contact David at 513-914-1980 or davidf@assistedlivinglocators.com to start finding the best senior living services for your elderly loved one today.

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