ARB-How to Choose the Right Assisted Living Community-CTA-Pillar


When your elderly parent starts struggling to care for themselves and can no longer live on their own, you’ll be faced with the decision of what to do next. This can be a difficult path to navigate, especially if you weren’t prepared to make this decision so quickly. Many people panic and immediately begin to look for a nearby long-term care facility.

Many questions may be running through your head. How quickly can I get my parents help? What type of help is best for my parents? Can we afford this? Let this guide help answer your questions.

Start Researching

While you’re waiting to decide, find a caregiver who will help your elderly parent at home. Most people decided on a combination of paid and family caregivers, depending on the level of care needed. If your loved one needs more care, their doctor may prescribe a short-term stay at a 24-hour skilled nursing facility.

As soon as possible, schedule an appointment with your parent’s doctor to do an assessment, so you can determine the type of care they’ll need. You may also need a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) release form or a durable power of attorney.

If your parent’s doctor determines they need help, but they don’t require immediate skilled nursing, you have the option of choosing assisted living or in-home care. Each option has its own advantages.


In-Home Care Benefits

  • Comfort of being in their own home.
  • Family members can help provide temporary care.
  • Home will be safer than before if modifications are made such as installing grab bars, moving the bedroom and laundry to one floor, improve lighting and adding bathroom safety devices.


Assisted Living Benefits

  • Security of having someone there 24/7.
  • Includes housekeeping, meals and transportation.
  • On-call healthcare in the event of an emergency.
  • Trained caregivers who specialize in providing the best care possible.

Researching Assisted Living

Consider the Financial Cost

Genworth Financial’s 2016 annual survey estimates the average monthly cost of various options. You can also use the tool to select certain areas of each state.

Genworth Financial's 2016 Chart

Consider the Emotional Cost

Some people decide that in-home caregiving is the best option for their elderly parent. Before deciding, consider the emotional costs on the caregiver:

  • 43% report long-term caregiving reduced their personal health and well-being.
  • 41% experienced negative physical side effects, such as depression.
  • Almost 33% of caregivers reported an extreme level of stress.
  • 55% of caregivers did not feel qualified to provide physical care.

Having a family member as the primary caregiver for your elderly parent can cause caregiver burnout, and a strain on their relationship. Keep in mind the different options available that will fit everyone’s needs best.

Check Out Available Resources

AARP provides a list of resources to review when searching for assisted living communities. Here are a few recommendations to begin your search:

  • Contact your state or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
  • Talk with your friends and neighbors about their experience
  • Get suggestions from your parents’ doctor
  • Read retirement guides

Keep Your Parents Involved

Keep Your Parents Involved

Before you continue your research, talk with your elderly parent about their different options. How do they feel about moving? If they’re hesitant, check out these tips for encouraging your elderly parent to consider assisted living. These articles are also a good resource to help with making the decision:

Take a Virtual Visit

Search online and look at the websites of nearby assisted living communities. Do they have a blog section? Read the articles to gain a better understanding of what they offer.

Check for objective information. Do the communities have positive reviews? Are there positive comments on their Facebook pages? Are there testimonials available?


Talk With the Community

Most assisted living communities don’t provide their prices online since services are customized for each individual resident. Talk with the community by giving them a phone call. Have a few questions ready to discuss with them, such as what do their floor plans look like? What are the residents’ rights and rules? You can also ask them to email or mail you any information.

You should feel comfortable speaking over the phone with the representative of the community. If you feel like the assisted living community would be a good fit for your loved one, schedule a tour.


Scheduling the Tour

After scheduling a tour with the potential community, think about who should go on the tour with you. You may want to go alone or with a family member for your first few visits. You can also bring your parents on each tour if they’re able to.

If possible, try and schedule your tours around meal times in the dining room. You can gain a sense of the quality of food your elderly loved one will be eating. Ask about their meal program and how they determine the meals offered.


Observe the Community

Pay attention to the details of the assisted living community while on your tour. Use this checklist from AARP to compare communities. Some of the questions include:

  • Are different sizes and types of units available?
  • Are all the rooms private?
  • Are bathrooms private?
  • Does the community offer special care units for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, such as Reflections at The Arbors?
  • Is a contract available that details fees, services, and admission and discharge policies?
  • Is there a written care plan for each resident?
  • What role does the resident have in developing the care plan?
  • Are additional services available on the same campus if a resident’s needs change?
  • Can residents choose their own doctors, therapists or pharmacies?
  • How does the residence bill for services?
  • What if a resident runs out of money?
  • Under what conditions would a resident have to leave the community?
  • What special services are available?
  • Who determines level of care?

Speak with Residents and Staff Members

Talk with residents and staff members about any remaining questions you may have. Learn about what’s included in the contract and the monthly fee. Some communities will offer assistance in finding resources available to cover the costs. Check out The Arbors’ Financial Options page.


Determine Your Priorities

What are the most important factors for your elderly parent as you help them choose an assisted living community?

  • Proximity
  • Price
  • Transportation
  • Pet-friendliness
  • Programs
  • Meals
  • Privacy

Try a Short Stay

Some communities offer the option of doing a short stay for potential residents. For a few days, your elderly parent can try life as a resident by participating in programs, eating in the dining room and taking exercise classes. The Arbors offers a short stay program.

Try a Short Stay

Choose Your Assisted Living Community

If you’re looking for more guidance on which community is the best choice for your elderly parent, have an attorney look over the legal documents and ask a geriatric care manager to point out any benefits you might’ve missed. Your local Area Agency on Aging is also a good resource for any other questions.

If you feel the need to, take another tour of the assisted living community.

Before you sign the contract, AARP advises to check the following:

  • Is the contract easy to understand? Have all your questions answered before signing.
  • If information about care, rights, costs or services isn’t mentioned in the contract, have them added to the contract before you sign it.
  • Before deciding, take the contract home and review it. Consider reviewing the contract with a financial advisor or attorney. 

Consider The Arbors Assisted Living

The Arbors Assisted Living is proud to serve elderly adults who’ve given so much to this world. We consider your loved one a member of our family and treat them with care, respect and the love they deserve.

Our family philosophy is that genuine kindness, comfort and care can make a big difference in people’s lives. If you would like your parents to experience the kindness, comfort, and care we provide, please contact the community nearest to you.

Download Your Free Printable Copy of Our Guide or Share with a Friend!


The Arbor’s Blog: 4 Documents You Need to Get from Your Parent Now: http://bit. ly/2jhhF6Z

Compare Long Term Care Costs Across the United States:

The Expanding Circle of Care Beyond Dollars 2015:

AARP - Assisted Living: Weighing the Options:

The Arbor’s Assisted Living: Learn How to Persuade Your Parents to Consider Assisted Living:

The Arbor’s Blog: 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Assisted Living: http://bit. ly/2jUGhSt

The Arbor’s Blog: 5 Strategies to Get Your Parents to Assisted Living: http://bit. ly/2A7RPwD

The Arbor’s Blog: 11 Strategies to Unite Your Family to Help A Parent: http://bit. ly/2As6XDW

Reflections at The Arbors:

The Arbor’s Blog: The Arbors Assisted Living: What Does The Monthly Fee Include?

The Arbors: Financial Options:

AARP - Assisted Living: Weighting your Options:

Contact The Arbors: