Finding the best senior care center takes time and effort. Keep reading for a few tips to help you out.
In this article:
- Learn About the Similarities and Differences of Assisted Living and Nursing Home Facilities
- Confirm That They Offer Assistance in Daily Living Activities
- Try to Incorporate Long-Term Care
- Research Who Owns the Senior Care Centers You Are Looking at
- Check Your Savings and Investments On Hand
- Read Reviews About the Senior Care Center
- Talk to Friends and Family
- See Medicare/Medicaid Eligibility
- Rank at Least Three Senior Care Centers
- Schedule an Announced and Surprise Visit of the Site
- If Possible, Talk to the Residents
- Think About Asset Protection or Optimization
- Keep Your Options Open
13 Practical Tips in Finding the Right Senior Care Centers
1. Learn About the Similarities and Differences of Assisted Living and Nursing Home Facilities
Assisted living facilities and nursing homes offer more than just home health care. To learn which one will work best for you or your loved one, here are the similarities and differences between the two.
- Both institutions provide assistance for daily living activities, including bathing and dressing.
- They both offer management of medication.
- Both also offer a supportive and safe environment, which provides the elderly with a higher quality of life.
- Nursing homes provide medical care, usually having 24/7 healthcare and monitoring services.
- Assisted living facilities look more like a retirement community or apartment complex. Nursing homes usually look more like a clinic.
- Most assisted living facilities have one resident per unit. On the other hand, nursing homes may have two or more per unit.
2. Confirm That They Offer Assistance in Daily Living Activities
If you’re serious about finding the right senior care center, you should know about which activities of daily living they offer assistance with. These include:
- Taking a bath
- Dressing up
- Proper grooming
- Moving around, including going to the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom
A good senior care center should offer assistance in daily living activities. Potential retirees should prioritize this since they won’t know their state of health and mobility upon retirement.
3. Try to Incorporate Long-Term Care
Long-term care insurance should be a topic to discuss with your financial advisor. Your investments in your retirement account will be stretched out if you do not plan for long-term care.
Take a quick look at the 10 best long-term care insurance companies. The earlier you start your long-term care insurance, the better your benefits will be.
Do note that current Medicare and Social Security programs are usually co-pay, which means you have to pay first. That makes long-term care immensely valuable, especially if your policy doesn’t have a deductible, or at least only has a minimal one.
4. Research Who Owns the Senior Care Centers You Are Looking at
According to a 2019 Statistics report, there are more than 19,000 retirement units for the nonprofit senior campuses alone across the U.S. These nonprofit retirement centers show the massive need for senior care, as well as the corporations and institutions trying to meet that growing need.
The sheer number of owners and institutions means you’re dealing with a highly-regulated industry with various management styles. Check the bio of the manager or company that handles the senior care center to help you analyze and predict what your retirement may look like in that facility.
5. Check Your Savings and Investments On Hand
Take a look at your tax-advantaged accounts:
- Do you know the different kinds of IRA, which can save you money in the long run? Understand whether a Roth or a Traditional IRA will work best at your current tax bracket.
- Are your finances properly secure and growing within your risk profile?
- How efficient have you allocated your retirement fund so you’re taxed minimally?
Having a yearly audit of your finances can help you discover where you are in your retirement journey.
6. Read Reviews About the Senior Care Center
You can read reviews about the senior care center from two sources: clients and staff. You’ll learn a lot about a place based on how they treat their staff and how the staff feels about their workplace.
You can go to employee reviews online, such as Glassdoor, to learn more about how the business treats employees. It’s also where employees air out any concerns or even any good points they see in their workplace.
7. Talk to Friends and Family
Reconnecting with people and keeping an active social life can help make retirement better. Whether you’ll stay in your own home or in a retirement facility, your relationships remain an important aspect of your life.
8. See Medicare/Medicaid Eligibility
A crucial part of choosing a senior care center is checking Medicare and Social Security eligibility. Ask if the senior care center is eligible for Medicare/Medicaid, long-term care insurance, and other automatic payment schemes through pension programs.
You should also learn about Medicare/Social Security guidelines so you can make the most of them.
For example, depending on your age, waiting for an extra two to five years can increase your pension. Choosing to get Social Security by 62, which is the youngest possible age for retirement, can mean an opportunity lost for the growth of your pension.
9. Rank at Least Three Senior Care Centers
Do you already know which state or country you want to spend your retirement in? Will the location be convenient, safe, and reachable?
If you’ve already decided on the place, the next thing you need to do is to find the best senior care center for you. List down at least three options based on the three factors mentioned above.
You can also do it the other way around and learn about good senior care center locations, then determine if that area works for you based on those three factors.
In this way, you can inform friends and family ahead of time of your plans since they will want to visit you in the future.
10. Schedule an Announced and Surprise Visit of the Site
Try visiting the senior care center at least twice: one with notice and another by surprise. This allows you to accurately judge the retirement center.
11. If Possible, Talk to the Residents
During your visit, try to talk to at least one resident and one employee. Your conversations can give you an idea of how the care center is run.
Most retirement centers allow you to talk to the resident, so this should be no problem. Ask about issues that are important for you, like the noise levels and the quality of the food.
12. Think About Asset Protection or Optimization
Planning for your cost of living is essential when choosing your retirement home.
Find out if the senior center has any promotions or wealth management packages. Also, see if they give out bonuses if you pay one lump sum or an annual charge compared to a monthly payment plan.
13. Keep Your Options Open
Sometimes, the best senior care center for you is your own home. This is especially true if you have injuries, are in a wheelchair, or any other special circumstance that requires you to make improvements.
Usually, but not always, long-term care insurance will pay for these improvements. However, not all assisted living facilities will allow you to make changes to your location.
This is why it’s important to have other facilities or even a condo or rented apartment as a backup option.
With these steps, you should be able to find senior care centers that will work for you. We hope these tips will help you narrow down your search for senior centers.
Do you have any questions regarding how to find a good senior care center? Have you already started making your list? Let us know in the comments section below.