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Eric Dewhirst Eric Dewhirst
February 9, 2018 ● Assisted Living 3 min read

5 Assisted Living Search Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes time to find the most suitable assisted living community for you or a loved one it is important that you don’t do some these common mistakes. We understand, we have been there, you want to get it right the first time and for many this is the first time they have ever done this. On top of it all, it is a very emotional time and in many respects you are in a vulnerable position and that is why we think it is important that you don’t fall victim to someone trying to make a quick buck off of your vulnerability.

The following are some common mistakes families make:

    1. The old saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”, and that definitely applies to anyone that is offering free advice.

      PLEASE NOTE, If someone from your Provincial Government or your local City is offering to help you, take that help, they are being paid by your taxes to help you.

      You may have come across them already, the websites that look like they are looking out for you and have all of this great information about the various residences in your area. However the only way to get at the information you really need is by contacting them and they will give you free advice. Speaking from experience, that free advice comes with a catch and that catch is they will pressure you to go with the residences that they represent, even if it is not the right fit. The motivation of these organizations is to get referral fees from the limited residences that they have contracts with, (for more info read this article). So when a form pops up and asks you for your “location, name, phone number and email address” – DO NOT fill it in! Here are some of the companies that offer “Free Advice” but are making money off of your vulnerability:
      • aplaceformom.com;
      • eoccupancy.ca;
      • comfortlife.ca;
      • senioradvisor.com;
      • seniorhelp.org;
      • seniorszen.com;
      • payingforseniorcare.com;
      • alzheimerslocator.com;
      • agingcare.com;
      • seniorcarecompass.com;
      • seniorhelp.org;
      • agingrelative.org;
      • topveterancare.com;
      • myseniorcare.com;
      • gilbertguide.com;
      • caring.com;
      • bestseniorcareonline.com;
      • assistedlivingfacilityratings.com;
      • AssistedLiving.com;
      • hometeamcare.com;

      Once you are in their system they will hound you from that moment on, sometimes phoning you several times a day!

    2. Incorrectly choosing location, specifically proximity over the overall level of care required now and down the road.
      Let’s expand on this, typically when one spouse needs to leave the family home and go into an Assisted Living Residence, the tendency is choose something that is close over everything else. A close option may be a good option, however, typically when someone enters an Assisted Living Residence their health will decline over the next months and years. Be sure that the residence can provide care at the current level of need and provide additional care as your loved ones condition worsens. You do not want to find yourself needing to move from one Assisted Living Residence to another because you have exhausted the level of care that can be provided.
    3. You are in a crisis situation and you rush your decision because there is an opening.
      Stress levels are high if you have been providing care in the home and it has become too much to handle. You are tired and desperate and the thought process is one where you just want a break and so the temptation is to settle for a Assisted Living Residence that has a vacancy and can fill your immediate need. Take a step back, look at Respite Care options and receive the immediate stress, get some sleep and then carefully examine your options. Many residences will offer a two week trial before you move in, take them up on it and see if it works. Two weeks is enough time to let the dust settle and clear your head.
    4. Social activities offered over care services.
      Social activities are crucial for Retirement Homes, however Assisted Living is different, perhaps housed within the same facility, but the reality is those in need of the services that an Assisted Living Residence provides, need care more than Friday night bingo. Typically when adult children are assisting in choosing a residence they focus on the social because that is how they see their parent(s).
    5. Step away from the computer, you can only make the right decision by visiting many Assisted Living Residences and getting familiar with what they all have to offer, in person.
      You are at it right now, trying to find out as much as you can from the comfort of your computer, but that will only take you so far. It is a great place to build a list of places you want to visit and sample questions to ask, but you will find that any of the reviews you read online are meaningless or one-sided. This is a very big decision and our advice is to get multiple perspectives and as much feedback as possible. Talk to friends who have gone through the process, when you at the residence ask one of residents what they think of the place, websites and brochures only show one side – the side they want to show.