Searching for the right assisted living option is not easy. The three big factors are cost, proximity, and level of care. It’s rare to find an option that fits all three on your own, especially for people who don’t know the market. However, you should never settle for having one of your needs met, but all three.

If you’ve just started your assisted living search for your elderly parent, then chances are they need more care than you’re able to provide. That may have been a gradual revelation or something you’ve only just discovered in a panic when your elder needed to go to the hospital.

No matter what scenario you find yourself, know that we can help (for free), but here are the 3 most common assisted living search mistakes people make and how to avoid them. After all, the last thing you want is to make a rash decision and have to move your loved one again within a year.

1. Function over Fashion

Remember when almost every single beauty product had a “Before and After” marketing campaign; where they would show a picture of a woman ‘before’ their product was used, and ‘after’? And then Photoshop came out and no one bats an eye at that marketing technique.

Assisted living works the same way. Online, it may look beautiful and luxurious. You may see smiling faces and fancy furniture, but don’t base your decision solely off of its website or aesthetic appeal.

Always visit the community, and I highly recommend making multiple visits at different times on different days. See how the community functions, not just what they’ve prepared for you. Ask tenants and elders, talk to neighbors and visiting families (if there are any – and if there’s not, maybe that’s a problem).

2. Proximity is not the Priority

Proximity is important, but it’s not the priority. When considering assisted living, remember that these type of facilities are open-campuses and not on lock-down. Seniors can come and go, but moreover, there are plenty of multi-day trips and transportation services available.

People usually go with ‘what’s closest’ when they need to make a decision quickly. That’s how you end up paying more money for less care.

When searching for assisted living, put care needs and cost above location.

3. Care Needs Vs Wants

This should go without saying, but we’ve seen it happen. If your parent is suffering dementia or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they need a community with memory care services. Non-negotiable!

Many times, elders get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but they exhibit none of the symptoms. On the plus side, your loved one’s doctor has caught it early and there’s a lot you can do to slow progression. However, in order to keep your elderly parent healthy, they need to have memory care treatment.

Many adult children choose the senior care home based on what their elder would want… if they didn’t have a specific diagnosis. Even if they enjoy that year or two they’re at the facility, they will just need to move again once the disease progresses (most contracts state that seniors stay so long as their care needs don’t change). You don’t want your senior to start suffering from the more severe symptoms and then move into a new environment.

Following these guidelines however, you should be able to avoid serious mistakes in your assisted living search and find a home befitting your loved one!