So you’ve decided that Assisted Living is the best choice for you or your loved one. That’s wonderful! There are many benefits to choosing this option. Not only does your loved one no longer have the burden of trying to maintain their household, but now there will be trained staff available 24/7 to look after them, making sure all their needs are met.
But once you’ve decided on an Assisted Living facility, you’ve probably got a whole new list of questions, such as:
- What is the difference between Assisted Living and a Nursing Home?
- How do I get started in finding the best Assisted Living Facility?
- What is the cost of Assisted Living?
- Should I find an Assisted Living facility nearby?
- How do I find Assisted Living facilities near me?
Let’s start by looking at the pros and cons to finding an Assisted Living facility close to where your loved one is already located.
There are many pros to finding Assisted Living homes near the area that your loved one is already located. The strongest reason is probably that this is the easiest way to transition into the topic of Assisted Living. It’s hard enough to convince anyone to leave the home they love, the neighborhood they’ve grown attached to, and the pattern of life they are accustomed to, but if you throw in moving out of the state or country, it may make it ten times harder.
When broaching the subject with your loved one, reassuring them that the facility will be in the same area may make this easier. Though there will be some changes, transitions, and losses, there will still be many familiar sites and faces around them to make it an easier move.
For many people, the familiarity of their location is a huge factor in their comfort. We grow accustomed to our surroundings, the climate, our favorite trees and foliage we pass on the way to work, and the park we love to walk or sit in on our day off.
All these things often create just as much of a sense of “home” and “belonging” as our own house does. It may truly help to reassure your loved one that they will be seeing their same familiar scenery when they take trips out with their new Assisted Living friends and family.
Relationships with Community
House and scenery are only one part of what makes a town or neighborhood “home.” Another huge factor is the faces that we’re used to seeing on a regular basis, aside from close friends and family: the grocer at our local supermarket, the neighbor we greet every morning when we step outside, or the pharmacist who fills our prescriptions and knows us by name.
All of these moments of human interaction with familiar faces make us feel at home. Your loved one will feel the same way and therefore might be reluctant to leave that all behind when you suggest that they leave their house. If you find an Assisted Living home near the same area in which they currently live, chances are that they will still be able to get interact the people they’re used to seeing on a daily or weekly basis.
Close to Friends
If they’ve been living in their current home for more than a couple years, chances are they have several close friends nearby whom they see on a regular basis. If they had to move to an Assisted Living facility out of town or state, this could be devastating to current friendships. Sure there is always the telephone, but we all know that that’s not the same as face-to-face contact with those who love us most.
Moving to a new town would mean a loss of those tea socials they have every week, the walks to the park with their closest friends, the shopping trips together, and the rounds of golf. None of these things can be enjoyed over the phone or e-mail, and your loved one may have cherished rituals with their friends like these that they’d be very disappointed to forgo.
Near Favorite Groups and Activities
Bingo? Golf day? Water aerobics? Quilting? Art exhibits? Church?
Chances are your loved one enjoys similar activities on a regular basis and it will feel like a part of them is being taken away if they can’t continue them. This is another great reason to keep them in the same area, because they may be able to continue to enjoy these activities at the same place with the same people.
Granted, many Assisted Living facilities have new groups and activities they can get involved with, but most of the time the preference is to keep the connections that have already been formed.
Close to Local Family
If your loved one lives in the same town as you or other family, then moving them to another town or even neighborhood could make it even more difficult to visit with family. At this age, they are acutely conscious of the importance of family time and related activities. Often family time is the most important part of their lives.
If you and most of their closest family members already live in their area, finding an Assisted Living facility nearby will most likely be the best choice for them. They won’t feel like you are cutting them out of your life, and you will have easy access to come visit them as much as possible in their new home. Feeling loved and valued by receiving time and attention from the people who matter most will not only brighten their mood, but it will benefit their overall health by warding off depression and stress.
While finding an Assisted Living facility will be the best option for many out there, it may not be the case for everyone. Each person is different and every situation is unique. Here are some reasons that finding an Assisted Living facility in your loved one’s current area might not be the best option.
May Be More Expensive
While staying in a familiar area can be a wonderful thing, it may not be the best option if it comes at the expense of deeper financial stress. The fact is, many areas have less expensive facilities simply because of the location.
If your loved one is fighting to stay in the town that they’ve grown accustomed to but Assisted Living would be much less expensive in another town or state, it might be better in the long run to make the move. In our Cost of Assisted Living blog, we have a breakdown of the average costs in various states to help you find the best price for your situation.
Staying in a familiar location may not end up being such a great option if there is a cloud of financial strain hanging over you and your loved one.
May Be Far From Family
If your loved one’s home is currently far from you or other family members, then keeping them in that same town could be stressful for you and your family. They will make new friends in their new home, but that will never take the place of consistent, quality contact with members of their own family.
If your loved one lives far away and is beginning to need assistance with daily tasks, finding them an Assisted Living facility closer to you might be the best option, despite the fact they’ll need to leave some familiar faces and places behind. In the end they’ll be closer to the people who matter most in this season of their lives.
May Prevent a Positive Change in Climate
When aging sets in and bad habits and diets catch up to us, doctors often recommend a different climate to help relieve the symptoms. For those with sensitive sinuses who suffer from airborne particles and pollen, moving to a climate with cleaner, fresher air might be the best option for their health. For those with aching joints, moving to a dryer climate often helps.
If your loved one suffers from chronic pain and is seeking relief in this season of life, accompany them to their personal physician and ask if there is a different climate that could help their health. No amount of friendly faces or financial peace will matter much if your loved one is suffering pain on a regular basis, so finding a climate that suits their bodies better might be the best move you could make for them.
May Prevent a Clean Break from Current Issues
Does your loved one suffer from addictions, bad influences, and poor habits that are causing depression and pain? Oddly enough, the necessity of an Assisted Living facility might be the best way for them to make a clean cut from these pitfalls. Perhaps there is a “friend” or neighbor that is constantly filling their head with harmful ideas and fears, or someone who is giving them access to substances that are only hurting and hindering them from a healthier, fuller life.
If you see these destructive trends in your loved one’s life, then finding them an Assisted Living facility in that same area might only enable them to continue these detrimental relationships and addictions. Sometimes a clean break – and physical distance – is exactly what it takes for real positive change to occur in our lives, and this might just be that opportunity for your loved one to experience that change.
First, discuss the matter with those in the family who will be directly financing the Assisted Living, or who are committed to visiting your loved one on a regular basis. Those who aren’t going to invest time or money shouldn’t have a say in the final decision for your loved one.
Talk through the pros and cons above and decide what the priorities for your loved one’s situation are. Is it proximity to family, climate, finances, and community?
It may help to decide on what your top one or two priorities are and which one or two points are negotiable, and then ask your loved one what their priorities and negotiables are for this transition. There will most likely be some compromise on both sides, so defining the most important factors will help you find something that both can live with. For instance, your priority might be an affordable facility, but their priority might be staying in their hometown at all costs.
Once you and your loved one are on the same page, it will make the facility search a much less stressful process. It’s best to have those things decided before you start touring facilities. Being unclear on these issues beforehand could lead to overwhelming emotions and heated arguments while you’re out and about instead of a few in-depth discussions at home.
Hands down the optimum way to find the best Assisted Living facility near you is to see the facilities for yourself. Anyone can create a fancy, edited picture for their brochure or website, so you need to see it for yourself, talk to the staff, and ask the residents what their experience with the facility has been.
Of course, you don’t want to visit too many facilities in person; that would be time consuming and exhausting. Narrow your selections down by doing some research online.
For example, find the areas that your loved one would prefer to live in, look at the prices for those facilities, check out online reviews and websites, and then make a list of your top 5 facilities to actually visit.
Here’s some Senior Living Tips to help you on your way.
We also have a useful Glossary of Senior Living Terms so you’ll feel confident in your conversations with Assisted Living professionals, and clear on all the decisions you need to make for your loved one’s new and easier way of life.