Choosing an assisted living program for a senior member of the family is never an easy decision. Seniors may find their health declining or lose motor function. It may become harder to perform everyday tasks and remember things like medications or meals. Designed to help manage these tasks, assisted living programs come in a few different forms.

Different types of assisted living

Everyone ages differently, so it is essential to find an elder care program that is right for them. Each program has specific criteria to evaluate:

  • Nursing homes: Pay attention to the details when choosing a nursing home. Take a tour of the facility and note how clean it is, the friendliness of the staff, the amenities provided, recreation options, and if the residents seem happy. Make sure the home meets all legal standards and take care when negotiating the contract.
  • Assisted living residences: Different from nursing homes, these residents enable seniors to retain their independence. These programs offer meal preparation, health monitoring and several different types of housing. Choosing an assisted living residence can be very similar to shopping for a new apartment — make sure to meet the needs of the senior family member.
  • Daily caretaker: A nurse or caretaker who visits daily can help a senior plan and prepare meals, take their medicine on time and keep the house tidy. Often, a close family member may perform this role, but many families find success with a professional. Interview several caretakers beforehand, ask for references and double-check their credentials. If possible, secure a background check as well.
  • Live-in caretaker: This choice may suit family members who need constant monitoring. Patients may form a close relationship with their caretaker, so it is important that they get along with the family.

Depending on the region, there may be other options available. Make sure to research the program thoroughly and speak to current residents or patients.

Make the right choice

Any assisted living choice will come with its share of contracts and legal paperwork. Many families find working with a lawyer experienced with elder law can help them navigate paperwork, check credentials and negotiate contracts.