5 Mistakes to Avoid While Looking for the Right Assisted Living Community

Assisted living is senior care designed for people who have maintained their independence but may need some extra help with certain activities of daily living, such as cooking, housekeeping, mobility, medication management, and transportation. Residents in an assisted living community live in apartments or condominiums that have been specially designed for senior living. Certain extra amenities are also offered that may be of great benefit to your senior loved one. Below are five common mistakes to make sure you avoid while looking for the right assisted living community for you or your loved one.

1. Doing It By Yourself

A decision this important and life-altering needs to be made by more than just you. Whether you’re looking for an assisted living community for yourself or a loved one, gathering multiple opinions on the options available can help make the decision easier. Ask for feedback from friends and family who have already gone through the process. Talk to your doctors, neighbors, or stop by your local senior center and ask for advice.

2. Considering Your Tastes Instead of Mom’s

If you’re looking for an assisted living community for your senior mom, remind yourself during the process that while you should be confident and feel comfortable in the community that Mom ultimately calls home, you should not choose a community based on your preferences. You and your Mom are different people, and therefore you may have some differences of opinion when it comes to certain things. Different opinions are ok! But if this assisted living community is going to be your mom’s home, she should have the last say on details that are mostly esthetic. Be as involved in the process as possible without insisting on your own tastes.

3. Not Being Realistic About Mom’s Needs

Take a few steps back from the situation at hand for a second and really look at your mother. Take note of what extra help she may need. Pay attention to small changes that have happened in her life lately. Has her routine changed, even just ever so slightly? Have her hygiene habits changed at all? Is she eating a different diet than she used to? Has she had any accidents while driving lately, even those resulting in only small bumps and dings? Does it seem like she’s falling more? Be realistic about the kind of care you want her to have in her new home. The assisted living community that you ultimately choose for Mom should be able to deliver the amount of services that she requires to satisfy her needs.

4. Not Reading the Contract Carefully

While assisted living contracts are not usually known for being too complicated as far as legal documents go, they are still legal documents, and therefore can contain some confusing language and terms. If you do not read the fine print carefully, you may miss seeing something like certain fees or price increases attached to the document. Don’t be caught unprepared for the expenses of an assisted living community. Since assisted living communities do their pricing different ways, make sure you understand what the contract says about what you are paying for, why, when, and how much. Make sure you understand what it says about the care that Mom will be getting, why, when, and how often.

5. Choosing a Community too Quickly

If you’re looking for an assisted living community, either for yourself or for a senior loved one, make sure you take the time to learn about assisted living and the communities in your area before you come to a decision. Trying to rush the process and choose a community too quickly can be overwhelming and end poorly. Do not choose your first option simply because it checks off a few of the things on your list. Visit several communities in your area, take a tour, and ask questions. Each assisted living community is unique in its own way, and you can only find the right one for you or a loved one by doing your homework on all of your options. For more questions to ask yourself while looking into assisted living, see the Cottages’ Checklist for Finding an Assisted Living Community for Mom.


Caregiver's Field Guide to Assisted Living