How to Create a List of Senior Living Facilities

Be clear in your own mind as to why you or your loved one are considering this change of living situation. Is it social isolation, or are there needs around safety, supervision, or assistance with daily tasks, like mobility or meal preparation? The reason behind the move can shed light on how needs may increase and help you ensure the facility you choose fits your needs in the short and long term.

Between assisted living, NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities), CCRCs (Continuing Care Retirement Communities), independent senior housing, and more, there are a few different options to choose from. Our guide on alternative living options can help you get a sense of what’s out there.

Your doctor is a critical and helpful voice in this. They can opine on the type of facility that would make sense, recommend potential options, and share their thoughts about how care needs are likely to change in the short and long term, a big factor to consider in your choice. Talking to them about functional prognosis can help you make a better prediction.

Before looking at places, outline your financial situation: will you be paying out of pocket? If so, what do you expect to spend? Do you have long-term care insurance? Medicare and Medicaid may provide some coverage, but in many instances, they don’t. Get clarity on all financial specifics before embarking on your search.

Make a list of what’s essential for you in the move. It might be the location, staying close to friends and family, staying within a certain budget, finding a facility with certain medical services, etc.

Before searching online, ask your network if there are places that they would recommend based on their experience or people they’ve spoken to.

While there are dozens of online brokers who specialize in matching you with an assisted living facility or nursing home, it’s important to use extra caution if you go that route — these services are paid by the facilities and are incentivized to get you to commit to one above all else.

But you can use their search tools to compile your list and then do your own outreach and research. The database on is particularly robust. Other helpful resources are local aging agencies and Facebook groups.

At the end of the day, long-term care facilities are a business, and they want and deserve to make a profit. As with most businesses, one of the best ways to maximize profit is to control costs.

What’s the most expensive cost in long-term care? Staff. And any type of facility — whether it’s assisted living, a nursing home, a life care community, or another — could be made better with more staff. Until every resident has a personal aid, nurse, and physical therapist, there’s always more that could be done. This is why data suggest that, on average, not-for-profit long-term care facilities are higher quality than their for-profit counterparts.

To be clear, these are average effects measured over thousands of facilities in some studies. There are wonderful for-profit facilities and not-for-profit facilities that are poor quality. And sometimes, there is no choice: Not-for-profit facilities are being converted to for-profit ones at an increasing rate, and there may not be any in your community. But in general, it’s a good thing to keep in mind during your search.

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