5 Things to Think about When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

5 Things to Think about When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

As you get older you may eventually need assistance getting around or help with daily activities. You may want to stay in your own home as long as you can, but you might need help preparing food, remembering to take medications, completing basic housekeeping and/or driving can an issue. It is understandable to have a fear of falling in your house and no one is around or perhaps you just don’t want to be by yourself in your house anymore. In any these cases, you may need help and an assisted living facility may be right for you.

An assisted living facility helps with day-to-day activities and housing for elders. There may be a cafeteria or dining room style eating and planned events to help the residents socialize. On the continuum of care, these places assume that you are largely independent, but need a little help with some activities. Conversely, a nursing home focuses on skilled nursing care or when you may need to be monitored around the clock.

When selecting an assisted living facility, the best plan is to look around before you actually need it. This allows you to narrow down the search and visit a number of the facilities to see what it would be like living there and to gather more information. A number of considerations to keep in mind are as follows:


Do you want to be near family members? Is the climate important? Keep in mind that the costs of these facilities differ by location as well. Arizona can be less expensive, but it’s also hot!


Some facilities may have an upfront cost and monthly fees, others just monthly fees. Include these figures in your financial plan and make sure the facility is one you can afford. Also ask what would happen if you became unable to afford the care – whether you’ve run out of money or now require a higher level of care.


Are there any complaints against the facility or staff? Is it in good financial condition? Assisted Living Facilities are regulated by the state, so look up your state’s Department of Health for complaints or violations. When you visit, talk to the staff or other residents to get a feel for how it is to live there.


Different facilities may have different amenities you might be paying up for. These places offer great opportunities to socialize. Determine what is important to you and what is merely a ‘nice to have’. Also, be sure to check out the dining room and taste the food!


Each facility may be different in terms of the assistance they can provide, so make sure the places you look at can meet your own healthcare needs. Be sure to talk to your doctor to discuss what you need the facility to provide for you.

Thinking about what you might want now should you need assisted living in the future helps you and your family plan both for this type of transition in your life and prepare for the costs involved. Talk to your family and your doctor about your concerns and work together to find an assisted living facility that is right for you.

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Cynthia Flannigan
Cynthia Flannigan

Cynthia made the shift to financial planning to guide clients through making good financial decisions through both grim and exciting changes in life. More than anything, she thrives on helping people. She obtained her CFP designation in 2008 and completed a masters in financial planning and taxation at Golden Gate University.

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