How Do I Find a Highly-Rated Assisted Living Facility?
Finding a highly-rated assisted living facility is a priority for increasing numbers of aging citizens as the senior population grows. Though no central registry exists on a federal level, seniors and their loved ones can start the search by looking online, reading past resident reviews and visiting communities they’re interested in before committing to a residential facility.
Aging in place is a popular desire among seniors. A 2018 study by the AARP reported that 3 out of 4 people aged 50+ expressed a desire to remain in their own homes for as long as they could. Eventually, when an aging individual needs more help with the activities of daily living (ADLs) than they can get in their own home, the time has come to start looking for residential assisted living. Assisted living facilities offer residents room and care, with meal service and daily check-ins included for a monthly rate. Many facilities offer laundry and linen service, light housekeeping and transportation assistance. Some resort-style communities go beyond these minimum amenities and offer luxurious accommodations for their residents.
Seniors who move into an assisted living community can get help with ADLs and some medical needs around the clock. Staff typically coordinate care issues with residents’ own doctors, and quick emergency response is available at all times for seniors who need medical or other attention. The goal of assisted living is to create a safe and comfortable environment for seniors who remain largely independent. Finding a highly-rated assisted living facility takes some research, but the generally high quality of life seniors in these facilities enjoy makes the effort a good investment.
How Are Assisted Living Facilities Rated?
Assisted living facilities span a wide range of care services and amenities. Some offer basic minimum accommodations and care and are appropriate for seniors who are largely self-sufficient. Others offer close personal care and many amenities that foster a close community feeling among the residents. Because assisted living facilities are not centrally regulated by the federal government, no national rating system exists. Instead, each state licenses and inspects assisted living facilities in its own territory, though not every state offers a public rating system that makes comparison easy for seniors and loved ones looking for a high-quality community.
Finding a Highly Rated Assisted Living Facility
Instead of searching for a central rating system, seniors and their loved ones can look for how a facility rates in a few key metrics. Together, these factors are informative about the quality of life in the listed facilities, as well as taking the different amenity levels and cost structures into account. Things to look for in an assisted living facility include:
- Number of residents
- Average length of stay for residents
- Monthly cost
- Publicly listed amenities, such as in-house gym, pool and spa or classes organized by staff
- BBB ratings and unresolved disputes with past residents
- Low staff-to-resident ratios
- Efficient communication with family members and transparency about state inspection results
No single factor makes an assisted living community ideal for every senior. Taken together, however, these factors can help you choose between the facilities in your area and settle on a community that meets your needs. Always try to schedule a site visit before deciding on a promising community, and take your time asking questions of the staff and current residents. You can start your search for highly-rated assisted living communities in your area from Caring’s free online listings.