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Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on April 10th, 2013

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9 Do's and Don'ts When Choosing an Assisted Living Community

assisted living  |  assisted living in ct  |  assisted living farmington ct  |  assisted living newington ct  |  independent living in ct  |  Aging & Caregiving

Choosing an assisted living community is one of those decisions in life when you need to get it right the first time. After all, it’s a long-term commitment and you want the best fit for maximum comfort over the long term. So, what should you look for? What must you avoid?

Here are a few do’s and don’ts from the experts you might want to consider:

1. DO Have Realistic Expectations of Your New Living Arrangement

Assisted living is just as it says: you’re assisted with daily living needs such as meals, grooming and other routine activities. Although some assisted living communities occupy sprawling, lush properties, keep in mind the basics and realize the community you choose should be comfortable and promote a more independent living experience than what the standard nursing home offers.

2. DO Stay on Budget

Very important: you’d be amazed at the charges that pop up for living expenses (special services) at the end of the month. Life happens; when budgeting, give yourself some wiggle room for incidentals to stay within your financial comfort zone.

3. DO Look For Red Flags

Go on a tour of the facility before you or a loved one moves in. You’re looking for a clean, orderly environment, helpful management staff (24 hour staffing) and a secure atmosphere; when in doubt trust your instincts.

4. DO Let them Know of Your Dietetic Needs

Diabetics, as well as individuals with food allergies should report this information to the management staff, as well as any other special senior care needs that must be met. If the facility does not cater to these needs, keep looking elsewhere.

5. DON’T Be Mislead by the Marketing Phrase “Aging in Place”

A common buzz word—“aging in place” has now come under attack from consumer groups who say frail and sickly seniors are inevitably asked to leave the facility—with some state law mandating their relocation to nursing homes.  Find out exactly what the community means when they offer this option and what state regulations allow.

6. DON’T Just Consider Proximity to Family

Your top priorities should be comfort needs, safety and affordability. Proximity to family is ideal, after top priorities are met.

7. DON’T Move in until You’ve Seen the Contract

Avoid being surprised by price hikes, no pet policies and other indelicate matters. READ the fine print; don’t assume you know the rules.

8. DON’T Settle for Less

Enter a flexible lease arrangement and keep your eyes opened for something better to pop up. Don’t accept rude behavior, exploited policies, poor maintenance upkeep, etc. Although your intentions are for the long term, moving into the right community may involve more than one try.

Key Takeaways:

  • Do keep your expectations real; assisted living is just as the term suggests
  • Try to stay on budget, this will help keep you from spending money you can’t afford
  • Look for red flags; when in doubt trust your instincts
  • If the facility doesn’t cater to special needs, move on
  • “Aging in place” is a marketing phrase; learn what this means at each community
  • Safety, comfort needs and affordability are priorities over family proximity
  • Read the fine print before moving in
  • If you make the wrong choice, learn from that experience when you look for a different community that meets all your needs.

Need Help?

If you or a loved one are interested in moving into an assisted or independent living facility UMH would love to provide further resources to you. Please visit our website or contact us for more information! We look forward to hearing from you. 


Touring a Senior Living Community Ebook

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.