about assisted living communitiesYour physician or a family member may have suggested that you move to an assisted living community. Before you make that very important decision, you probably have a whole lot of questions that you need to have answered.

Below, we’ve talked to Russell Williams, executive director of The Towers, an assisted living and memory care community in Richmond, VA, to answer some of the most important questions you might have.

How does someone know that they need assisted living?

It could be as simple as no longer being able to make meals for yourself or clean and maintain your home to needing help with bathing, dressing, toileting and mobility. Those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses also need a special, more individualized living arrangement.

How should people select a community? In other words, what are some of the criteria that they should use during the selection process?

  1. The “feel” of the community. Will you be comfortable there?  Do you feel like you “fit in”?
  2. Age in place. If you need more care, will you be able to stay in your current room or apartment, or will you need to move to a different apartment or even building?
  3. Money. While the financial element shouldn’t be the deciding factor, it has to be a part of your decision-making process. Find out the room cost and what each level of care costs. Always remember that just because one community is more expensive than another doesn’t mean the care is also better. Do your homework!
  4. Location. Make sure the community is close enough to friends and family members so they can come for visits.

What’s the difference between a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) and a community that only offers assisted living?

Most CCRCs have independent living, assisted living and memory care as well as long-term nursing care on one campus. However, most also have a large entrance fee—anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 and beyond.

What changes should someone expect when they move from living independently to an assisted living community?

Contrary to popular belief, just because you move from your home into assisted living does NOT mean that you are giving up your freedom! What you are giving up is all of the mundane things you have to do every day, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, house maintenance and yard work. Plus, you’re gaining the care you need to live well and the opportunity to socialize with others and remain engaged in life. When you live in assisted living, you have every single right that you’ve always had and have complete freedom to choose how you live.

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