Senior Center

7 Steps in Choosing the Right Senior Center

Selecting the right senior center for long-term care is an important decision for a potential resident. This decision may affect the rest of his or her life. The key to making the right choice is to start looking before you need the new home and to follow these seven steps to choosing the right residence.

  1. The cost of the stay: Long-term care centers offer various options and prices. The price may be higher for a lavish facility or if the resident will require a lot of care. Call around and get as many quotes as possible. These homes offer various payment plans including help from Medicare with possible copayments, long-term care insurance, and monthly payments from the senior citizen’s own funds or those of family members. Depending upon location and the center, it may accept a surrender of income from annuities and retirement accounts, life insurance withdrawals, pension plans, social security, and other assets. Before making any calls, get an idea of what you will be able to afford.
  2. The level of care: The level of care you will need may make a difference in the residence you choose. If you are in good health, you will not need as much care as someone who has a progressive disease or condition. That will save you money. Even if you are in reasonable health, you may need help with minor things such as cooking, shopping, and other day-to-day activities. If you are in a situation in which you need more intense help, such as help with bathing and toilet use, you need to ensure the facility you are considering provides that. Additionally, make sure it will provide even more help later as your condition progresses.
  3. Consider the location: It may not occur to you at first that location is important, but if you are mobile, you may occasionally want to do some shopping, eat at a restaurant or take in a movie. If you can drive and the home is near those kinds of facilities, you should have no problem; however, the day may come when you cannot drive. If you foresee a problem with it, choose a location that is on a bus line or some other kind of transportation. You should also make sure the senior center is near friends and family. They will want to visit periodically, or they may want to pick you up for a special occasion or visit. That will be difficult if you are too far from them.
  4. Does the center offer some social life?: Interaction with others is important for our wellbeing. Find out what kind of social functions the home offers. For example, is there a common living area where residents can meet and interact? Are there special events from time to time such as games, movies, and special entertainment? Are there restrictions on personal visitors? It is important to know these things because you may feel very lonely sometimes without them.
  5. Does the senior center have friendly employees?: Keep in mind, when you go for your initial visit, you will likely encounter a salesperson. He will be friendly because he wants the sale. Is the rest of the staff that friendly? Periodically, there are news stories about poor treatment in long-term care centers. Talk to some of the residents to see how they feel about the personnel. If you like the home, make an unannounced return visit to meet different employees and see different situations. If you are going to be there the rest of your life, you do not want to be miserable because of impatient caregivers.
  6. How much of the necessary medical care is performed on-site?: Some facilities have relationships with doctors who do not practice at the facility. That means trips to the doctor’s office. Worse yet, if the home does not have resources for on-site medical care, it may mean an undesired stay in a hospital. Decide how important this is to you before signing a contract.
  7. Visit several senior care centers: You do not want to get your mind set on one particular facility without having exhausted your possibilities. Visit as many as you can. The building may be beautiful from the outside, but you will be living on the inside; therefore, you need to know what each possible choice is like. It would be disheartening for you to make a commitment with one center, only to learn later that another was ideal for you.