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Senior Living Facilities: What to look for.

Updated on January 26, 2017

When it seems a good time to choose the right location for spending some senior years, what is involved?


Cost isn't the only factor in choosing a senior living facility.

While cost is an important factor in making arrangements for senior living, I am reminded of a Chinese saying: "Cheap isn't cheap. Expensive isn't expensive." It all depends on what you need, and what you are getting for your investment.

What is needed?

Everyone is different. That is a given.

So, when it seems a good time to consider making some senior living arrangements, the first consideration should be: what is needed?

For those with social needs, the atmosphere and the ambiance is important. Some facilities offer "a get acquainted" stay of a weekend, just to see if the facility meets a senior's expectations. Take advantage of that, or stop by from time to time, and be sure to talk to other residents about their satisfaction and concerns.

For those with medical needs, access to care at the facility and nearby can be very important. Some larger facilities have medical professionals on their staff, a visiting medical doctor or chiropractor, and weekly or monthly visits from other medical professionals. What provision is made for declining health, Alzheimer's or dementia, wheel chair access, elevators, dietary needs, etc. ?

Are meals included in the cost? Does a dietitian plan healthy meals? When are meals and snacks available? Will there be "room service" to the rooms of residents when a senior is ill or indisposed. (After all, no one wants to go without, or dine where ill residents have no other choice than to eat with everyone else...and the other residents deserve to be protected from spreading germs.)

Does the facility have an activities director? Are there exercise and crafts opportunities, even instructors?

Are there provisions made for private parties, reunions, regular visitors? Will those who visit feel welcomed and comfortable?

If the questions of costs and needs have been answered, then it is time to consider what makes a final choice a more desirable one.

It will be rare when the searching results in a totally ideal senior living arrangement. A lot is at stake in making a final choice. Here is a checklist of what other factors you may want to consider.

How convenient is the location in terms of the following?



Medical Care

Post Office


Other local programs for seniors




Religious Services

Special Events


Hair Care

Special Interests the senior may have.

Facility Policies and Rules

Take time to ask about such things as the facility's policy on pets, and what rules residents are expected to abide by in terms of smoking, absence from meals, visiting hours, etc.

One more important consideration:

The best senior living facilities are in high demand. Those fill up rapidly after they open and often have waiting lists as soon as the words "good, better, best" get around.

If you find the "just right facility" the timing for making a commitment has to be considered. It may be more critical, if the reason for examining facilities is an immediate need. Then some temporary compromises may need to be made while searching for an even better lasting choice.

In cases when finances are severely limited, there may be financial assistance available from local, state, and federal sources, as well as from philanthropic sources. Get some good professional advice. While free advice is often worth only what it cost, sound, professional advice could well be worth every dollar spent.

The range in costs for senior living, assisted living, assisted memory care, rehabilitation, and nursing care facilities is often significant, even within a given category. Depending on what is being sought, it makes sense to explore the price range and tailor the search to those facilities that fall within a workable price range.

But even then those doing the searching will still want to consider each of the factors mentioned earlier. Doing so offers the best chance of making a favorable choice which can meet both needs and desires.


No matter the size of the facility, the same selection criteria still apply.


© 2017 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.

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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 14 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      If anyone would like to see the best one in Utah, let me know and I will treat you to breakfast, lunch, or dinner and a tour of what allows it to make that claim...and I looked at several in writing this article.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 14 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      If you know a family or individual making this very important choice, pass this article along to them. Too often a choice is made which doesn't take some of these essentials into consideration, only to be regretted sooner of later.