Yesterday’s post on our News page focused on the majority of future seniors preferring to “age in place” or “age at home,” and examined the thought processes need to ensure that this decision is properly considered. The post addresses the results of a Capital Caring Health study revealing that not all who envision this for their future may be prepared, and offers insight into how to pre-plan to make this arrangement work for you.

But, what if it doesn’t work for you? Or, what if your situation, or the situation of someone you’re caring for, changes to the point that an Assisted Living Facility becomes the most feasible direction for you? You wouldn’t be alone…the CDC reports that there are nearly a million seniors residing in assisted living facilities in the U.S., with nearly 29,000 residential care communities in operation across the country. So with so many different and unique facilities available to consider when facing the need to select a destination, what do you do?

The answer, of course, is research. Before settling on a facility or an assisted living community for yourself or a loved one, a common-sense approach is to study the matter carefully. There is always plenty of word-of-mouth reference commentary available, but is that the best way to go about navigating your way to what is likely to be the most monumental decision you will make for this life stage? No! What works for one person or family is probably not going to work for you, given that each situation is unique and each person’s needs and interests are different. So, an extensive investigation is in order to match a given facility or assisted living community to the distinct parameters that will align that destination with your specific situation, Remember, the goal is to achieve a comfortable, livable arrangement for you or your loved one.

OK, but how to do that? It’s a big step, and it’s complicated by so many variables and so many details that need to be considered that it can appear to be an overwhelming exercise. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of guides and instructional documents available (just execute an internet search on the topic of “assisted living” and you’ll see), but finding a study aid with a fully comprehensive outlook is rare. The biggest obstacle, it seems, is simply not knowing where to start, followed by having limited knowledge of the many specific aspects of the assisted living concept.

As part of our studies here at the AMAC Foundation, we’ve examined quite a few of these reference sources on behalf of our constituents, and are constantly on the lookout for a publication that would meet the most diverse set of needs in this crucial area. One that has caught our attention is written by a retired Assisted Living Administrator with decades of real-life experience in the business of caring for seniors, including a 15-year stint as an Executive Director/Administrator in Florida. The author, Rhonda Hardy, has compiled her extensive knowledge into a complete 25-chapter navigational aid for anyone facing the daunting task of making the assisted living facility decision for themselves of a loved one.

Ms. Hardy’s publication begins, logically, with a detailed definition of the term “assisted living facility,” providing a “behind the scenes” type of look at what actually comprises this type of facility, the various types of facilities that serve residents, and the variations in service levels that one finds assisted living communities. Also logically, she follows that first chapter with an extensive answer to the question, “Where do I start?” Just reading this section paints a full view of the range of topics that fall into understanding how a specific facility meets the needs of an individual destined to live in an assisted living facility.

The remaining chapters in Ms. Hardy’s publication explore the investigation process in detail, from arranging facility tours to the examination of internal operations during these tours, as well as the various administrative procedures in place to govern resident care. Of course, the publication covers the financial aspects of life in an assisted living facility and the availability of financial assistance. One of the more unique components of Ms. Hardy’s publication is its inclusion of specific questions to be asked to help guide the evaluation and selection process, as well as a set of five walk-through checklists to help ensure that you cover all the bases during your time touring the facility. To learn more about this comprehensive reference guidebook, visit the author’s website at www.choosebestalf.com.

Finally, since we know that the issue of selecting an assisted living facility for yourself or someone you care for is extremely important for so many of our constituents, and since we are aware of the level of apprehension one faces when starting to think about the issue, our public seminar series will be providing a session focused totally on tips and techniques to consider when facing this task. We’ve scheduled a seminar titled “Choosing the Best Assisted Living Arrangement” for August 31, 2022, beginning at 10:00 am locally at the Lady Lake Library. Details on this program are presented on our “Events” page, along with instructions for registering. Since so many of our readers are remote from our home base here in north-central Florida, we will live stream this event via our website, and we will record the session and make it available for on-demand viewing on our website. Instructions for accessing both the live session and the recorded version are included in the Events listing.