Best Practices When Researching Assisted Living Communities for a Loved One

The conversation with your loved one about transitioning into an assisted living community isn’t simple. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the decision, take time, and deep dive into assisted living before it becomes an immediate necessity.

After taking the necessary steps to identify the need for extra care for a loved one, creating an intentional plan of action is important. Creating an assisted living research checklist will make this transition easier, preempting a potential health-care emergency. Here are a few ideas to guide you through the research process.

How to Find Assisted Living Communities in Your Area

Start with An Online Search

A great place to begin your research is with an online query search based on your desired location. A general search based on where you want to relocate your loved one, will yield a variety of results. There are over 28,900 Assisted Living communities located in the United States, it’s likely you’ll have several communities to choose from. In addition to specific community related webpages, you’ll come across referral websites. These websites compile lists of senior living options in your area, be aware that these lists may not be comprehensive as some communities are paid partners to be listed. Exhaust all online search resources to find a full and complete list of local options.

An additional tool that will be useful for researching assisted living communities is reading online community reviews. There are a multitude of review generating websites, designed to provide a broader perspective for readers. Those who review are typically familiar with the community and include residents, family members, vendors and staff. Be sure to look at both positive and negative reviews, as people share praise on these platforms but keep in mind that people tend to vent their frustration online versus in-person.

Utilizing Your Personal Network – Sourcing Recommendations from Others

According to Nielsen, 83% of people say that they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues about products and services – making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness. Utilizing your personal network is an easy way to learn first-hand about retirement communities in your area. Gathering recommendations from people you trust is a great way to learn more about what’s available locally and discover places you weren’t familiar with before.

Reach out to your network and see if they know anyone who has had experience with specific Assisted Living communities in the area and what they have heard about it. Remember that their opinion is just one experience and to find multiple opinions.

Call for Information

A large list of communities can be overwhelming and narrowing down the options for your loved one can be difficult. There is only so much information and misinformation that is provided online that personally calling communities and being armed with questions is a good introduction. Many communities have trusted advisors who are available to help and find the perfect fit for you, whether it’s their location or another one in the area.

Make sure you’re asking the tough questions. Inquire how your loved one will maintain their independence and social life while in assisted living and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. The person on the other end of that phone should be empathetic and understanding about how hard of a process this is.

Financially qualifying a community is something that can be done over the phone. Ask questions about the pricing structure, what’s included, and what type of residence is included on the different pricing models. Ensure you completely understand what is included and not included will eliminate any surprises down the road.

Get Personal with the Community and Take a Tour

See it for yourself. If time permits, schedule tours for each of the communities you would like to see in person. Scheduling a tour of a community gives you an opportunity to see what a website and phone call can’t show you. Meet the leadership, the front-line staff, take note of the cleanliness, have a meal, etc. Taking an initial tour during a lunch hour could be the perfect time to see everything mentioned above. Touring every community that is close to you can seem overwhelming but could be a great way to narrow your search down.

If you’re able to narrow it down to three to five communities, see what sets them apart. Whether it’s a staffing ratio, how they invest in their Members and staff or simply a difference in pricing or amenities. Additionally, stop by to take a few “surprise” tours and see how the day-to-day life is. It is important to obtain that peace of mind when moving into a community and visiting in various circumstances could help. A few good ways to engage with the community is through their social events, dinner parties, happy hours, etc. See if you’re able to be included in on the fun, it could make a big impact on the way you envision your loved one there.

A Luxury Assisted Living Community

Brightwater Senior Living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is committed to helping Members live Longer, Healthier, Happier lives. Offering an array of amenities including maintenance-free living, daily fine dining, weekly housekeeping, a personalized wellness program, and continuing-care services. For more information about Brightwater, please call 843-903-9100 or visit our website,