6 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

Consider factors like size, location and cost while researching facilities. (Getty Images)

If you need some help with activities of daily living like cooking for yourself or getting into the shower, but don’t need the type of round-the-clock skilled nursing care a nursing home provides, an assisted living facility may be for you. “It’s ‘in-and-out’ service,” explains Mariel Schwartz, a hospice and palliative care social worker in the greater Detroit area and former assisted living facility employee. For example, a staff member may help you take your meds on time or button your blouse each morning, but he or she won’t need to hang out with you all day.

“it’s really built on this idea of maximizing independence, offering socialization and focusing on well-being while still offering a home-like environment,” says Rachel Reeves, a spokesperson for the National Center for Assisted Living, which represents about 4,000 assisted living communities nationwide.

6. Culture

You can’t really know what it’s like to live in an assisted living facility until you do it. But you can get a very telling taste if you visit your potential options first. “In today’s age, it’s highly understandable that folks would like to do an internet search and find something quickly and be done,” Reeves says. “But this is also where you or a loved one is going to live for the foreseeable future – you wouldn’t buy a house [from an internet search].” She recommends visiting the facility, talking to the staff and residents, attending a meal and getting a sense of the environment. “That’s the biggest piece of advice we can give people – make sure it feels like the right environment.”

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Anna Medaris Miller, Staff Writer

Anna Medaris Miller is a Senior Health Editor at U.S. News, where she covers fitness and athlet…  Read moreAnna Medaris Miller is a Senior Health Editor at U.S. News, where she covers fitness and athletic performance; nutrition and fad diets; “invisible” medical conditions; complementary medicine, reproductive health; mental health; gender, sexuality and body image issues; and more. She also manages the Eat+Run blog, a practical guide for healthy living. Before joining U.S. News in 2014, Anna was an associate editor for Monitor on Psychology magazine and freelanced for the Washington Post. Her work has also appeared in the Huffington Post, Women’s Health, Yahoo!, Business Insider, the Muse and more. Anna frequently acts as a health expert and spokesperson for U.S. News on national and local TV and radio, and has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox 5 New York and more. She has held leadership positions on the National Press Club’s young members committee, the Association of Health Care Journalists’ D.C. chapter and the American News Women’s Club. Anna graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan, where she studied psychology and gender and health, and later earned her master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University. Anna lives in New York City and is a multi-time triathlete and marathoner currently training for an IRONMAN 70.3. To learn more about Anna, visit her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

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