5 Factors Overlooked when Searching for a Senior Community
Searching for the right senior living community can be a daunting task, especially when you’re going through the process on your own. Whether you’re looking for Assisted Living, Memory Care, or Independent Living for the older adult in your life, there are many important aspects to consider.
Certain factors spring to mind quickly: 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. These factors can show you the subtle differences between how each community operates, helping you make the most informed choice possible.
Here are seven factors that tend to get overlooked when families search for a senior living community on their own
1. Resident council meetings
Many senior living communities have residents’ groups who regularly meet in a private space to discuss issues important to their quality of life. They often include written requests for management to consider, along with accountability steps if requests are addressed. Staff, visitors, and resident family members are only allowed to attend if invited by the group. Ask if you can visit a council meeting so you can gauge how the residents feel about their community, what types of issues they discuss, and how these issues are resolved. Residents have a right to form councils, so if a senior community you’re considering doesn’t have one, you might want to move it to the bottom of your list.
2. Religious and spiritual services, support, and guidance
It may be important to your older loved one for a community to meet their spiritual needs. Be sure to ask if the community 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.
3. Abuse prevention guidelines
This may be a difficult topic for some, as no one wants to think about a loved one being abused in any way. Many senior living communities have found excellent ways of preventing abuse, so inquire about which actions staff can and cannot take in the community. These guidelines establish boundaries between the staff and residents, detail consequences when someone breaks the rules, and help prevent neglect or abuse. Make sure you understand the details of the abuse prevention guidelines of every community you’re considering.
4.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 takes away your right to file a lawsuit in the event of neglect or abuse allegations. Have a lawyer review the contract before signing and consider removing any mandatory arbitration clauses they find. If the senior living community considers arbitration non-negotiable, you can decide whether to take the risk.
5. Food flexibility
We expect that three meals will be provided every day. 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 there should be a wide variety of alternate food options at every meal to satisfy everyone. Review sample community menus, or have a meal in the dining hall with the other residents for a more authentic first-hand experience.
The best time to discuss these and other items is with a senior living staff member during your initial meeting. Based on their answers, you can decide whether to shortlist the community or drop it altogether. The best choice is an informed choice, so be sure to cover as much ground as possible until you’re completely satisfied with the information the community staff member provides.
Help with finding senior living communities on Long Island
Finding the perfect senior living community for an older loved one is essential to your family. There are many steps to making the best choice possible, including researching different communities, conducting interviews, touring facilities, and sorting through all the information you collect. It’s a daunting task for families to take on alone.
That’s why you can count on Assisted Living Locators of Long Island for help matching your loved one with the most suitable Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living, or other senior living option. Our team takes the time to get to know all about your loved one’s needs, answer all of your questions, and present a list of best-suited facilities in your area based on the older adult’s wants, requirements, and budget.
Contact Assisted Living Locators of Long Island when you’re ready to explore senior living community options for the older person in your life. We’re always happy to help.