What to Look for When Searching for a Senior Living Community

What to Look for When Searching for a Senior Living Community

It can be very overwhelming when you begin searching for senior living options. Type of community, cost factors, amenities offered, location, access to medical care, the list can go on and on. With all of these different aspects, it is difficult to decide which ones need to be at the top of your list. The following five aspects of senior living are things you should put at the top of your list when searching for the perfect senior living community.

  1. A true continuum of care.What we mean by “continuum of care” is not just one type of care, but different levels of care from independent living, some assistance (assisted living or memory care), or more hands on care (skilled nursing). It is the ability to age in the same location and being able to receive all the care you will need over time. If the community you are looking into says you can age in place, but only offers one level of care, be sure to ask if that includes processes and staff in place if skilled nursing care is needed. When researching, understand that independent living and assisted living, which includes memory care, do not offer the same level of care that skilled nursing does. There are different rules and regulations for each level of care that is needed or provided in a senior living community.
  2. Not-for-profit status.Non-profit vs for-profit status can tell you a lot about how a company operates. Non-profits take their revenues and reinvests back into their communities (which means to their residents’ benefit), rather than focusing on profits going to shareholders. This typically means a higher staff to patient ratio in non-profit communities. Non-profits are governed by a volunteer board of trustees, which means they choose to be a sounding board for the organization rather than receiving a payment. Once again, this ensures that the focus stays on the residents’ needs, not shareholders’ interests. Non-profit companies are often faith based and mission driven. This means that the organization is not only concerned with the residents’ physical well-being, but also their mental and spiritual well-being.
  3. Longevity of Ownership.When looking into a community be sure to ask how long they have been around and how long the parent company has been in senior living. Some senior living communities will change ownership frequently. A community may have kept the same name while going through multiple ownership changes! This is a common business practice in for-profit senior living. Look for a community that has roots not only in your community but in all of the communities its parent company serves.
  4. Star rating on Medicare.gov.This goes hand-in-hand with the continuum of care. When researching senior living, be sure to check out the star ratings on Medicare.gov if the community has skilled nursing. These ratings will give you a good picture of the care that is received in the skilled nursing areas of a community. The star ratings are based on scores from health inspections, staffing (nurse/nurse aid to patient) ratios and select clinical data measures (quality measures). You can learn more about these ratings by reading this blog.
  5. Happy Residents.Of course, the happiness of residents living at a community will speak volumes. You definitely want to pay attention to the residents that are currently living at a community you are considering. Are they happy? Do they seem engaged? Be sure to talk to a few of the residents when you visit to get a real feel for the life of the community. They will most likely tell you not to wait, to go ahead and move in as quickly as you can!

There are so many aspects to consider when researching senior living. You will want to be sure that the five we have listed here are at the top of your list!

Call us today at 936-633-1108 to schedule a tour so we can tell you how PineCrest checks all of these boxes plus more.