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How to Shop for Assisted Living

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One Big Decision
Are you considering Assisted Living for yourself or a loved one? We understand that this can be a difficult yet important decision. You probably wouldn't purchase a home on the spur of the moment, so why wait until the last minute to make decisions about future care needs? Waiting until the last minute can greatly affect and limit your options. From our family to yours, Evergreen Senior Living has compiled what we (and our residents and families) have found to be helpful tips when exploring your assisted living options.

Include Everyone
As you begin your search for a successful transition, it's vital to include your VIPs. If you are looking for a loved one, include them in your exploration. Make sure the decision is not being made for them, but with them. Their opinion matters; after all, you want them to be safe AND happy. Also, it's wise to ask others involved in the care of that loved one to give input or be present: extended family, caregivers, physicians, trusted professionals, etc.

Shop Around
As a consumer, there are now multiple healthcare options available to you! Be sure to educate yourself on the options in your area and schedule tours to visit with each community. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples! For example, Independent Living differs from Assisted Living. While Independent Living may cost less, there is usually no or minimal assistance offered.

Discover Needs & Wants
Assisted Living communities provide services and amenities, many that are customized to each individual. Before you visit, prepare a list of what you or the senior NEEDS (shower assist or three meals a day) as well as what the senior WANTS (free Wifi, transportation). This will help prioritize what is truly important, keeping those MUST-HAVES at the top of the list. Bring this list with you on your tours with each community so that you can eliminate options that do not meet your needs.

Choices, Choices, Choices
We all want options, right? Regardless of the situation, we like to make our own choices. That doesn't change when living in an Assisted living community. When you visit communities, make sure to make a note of the choices available: meals, apartment sizes, customized care, social opportunities; this list is endless!

Environment
One of the main reasons to schedule a tour is to see firsthand the type of environment a community offers. Take note! Are the community grounds and common areas clean, well designed, and inviting? Do the residents seem happy and engaged? How do the staff and residents interact with one another? Often times, we at Evergreen Place Assisted Living in Champaign hear, "I knew right away that this was the place for mom." Pay attention to those gut feelings and instincts, whether good or bad.

Philosophy of Care
Every community provides something just a little different from their competition. Take the time to ask about move-in requirements and move-out criteria; it is best not to be surprised, especially in a crisis. When exploring options for memory care, chat further about different approaches used, staff training requirements, and overall philosophy. You might be surprised by what you learn and how that might sway your decision on selecting a new home for you or your loved one.

Reviews & Feedback
Thanks to technology and social media, customer reviews are at your fingertips! Explore what others have experienced. Ask residents and families you may encounter on the tour for their honest opinions about the community. Are there testimonials on their website? It is likely the majority of the comments and ratings will be an accurate reflection of the community.

You have many options when choosing an assisted living community. Plan ahead, tour the communities, and take notes. The care and happiness of you or your loved one depend on it! 

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