How to Find the Right Senior Community for Your Parents

December 09, 2014


Finding the right senior community for your parent is a major responsibility that requires considerable effort and time. Added to the challenge of identifying the ideal community is the combination of emotions and concerns related to the search. Thanks to an ever-increasing number of options, the search for the right residence is not as insurmountable as it may appear to be.

To help you with this crucial task, here are seven important questions to ask when vetting senior communities.

Elmhurst Lobby1. What are your parent’s needs?

Before approaching a community, you and your parent should determine which living options and level of care are needed.

According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, every senior living community offers a different range of services. You should be aware of the following basic services:

  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Transportation services
  • Health and medical services
  • Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.
  • Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory care
  • Staff available to provide care
  • Twenty-four-hour safety and security
  • Emergency call systems in every residence
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Medication management services
  • Recreational and social activities

2. What living options does the community offer?

  • Today’s senior residences come in many forms:
  • Active adult communities
  • Senior apartments
  • Independent living communities
  • Assisted living residences
  • Nursing homes
  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • Home care (non-medical)
  • Home health care
  • Adult day care

3. Is the community licensed?

Licensed communities must adhere to state standards. Among other things, they are subject to visits by inspectors. To find out more about the requirements in your state – and which residences are licensed – contact the appropriate government agency.

4. What type of care plans do you require?

Ask whether the community you are screening has a written care plan for each resident. Also find out whether residents have input into developing their care plans.

5. Where is the community located?

Proximity to family and friends is often the overriding factor considered when choosing a residence. However, such things as climate, on- and off-site amenities, and the community’s overall atmosphere should also play a part in your selection.

6. What are the details in the contract?

Carefully read the contract or agreement. If the document is unclear or lacks full disclosure, don’t hesitate to contact an elder care attorney. provides a checklist for choosing a senior living community

7. What’s provided in the basic rate, and what services costs extra?

The basic rate may cover all amenities, but only some of the care services. You may pay month to month, or be subject to a long-term contract. Find out exactly what is included in the rate that’s been quoted.

As you can see, the search for a senior community for your parent requires a great deal of due diligence and patience. Rest assured, though, that you will find an option that fulfills your parent’s needs and puts both everyone’s mind at ease.

For more information on the challenges of aging, download the “Parent Care Guide.”

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