Tales of a Geriatrician

5 Factors to Consider when Choosing an Independent Adult Living Facility

Recently I attended a dinner honoring a fellow physician from my community. During the dinner portion, a colleague and his wife remarked that they were in the midst of choosing an independent adult living Facility for his parents.

My colleague’s sub-specialty is gastroenterology, he inquired about my knowledge regarding local retirement facilities. After a very brief description of the health concerns of each parent, he did tell me that his parents had already consented to move to an independent adult living facility as soon as a unit became available.

I told my friend and his wife that they had already jumped over a major obstacle: just to get their parents to agree to move! I reassured them they had made a wise decision and that it is important to take time to evaluate each independent adult living facility, looking at its strengths and weaknesses, to determine which one best suited their parents’ needs.

I suggested he consider the following 5 factors:

  1. Comfort with the administrative team and management team including how long they had been working for the organization, as longevity is an extremely important indicator as is stability of the staff.
  2. Interviews with other residents and family members as that would be extremely helpful in shaping their ultimate decision.
  3. Whether or not transportation is provided by the facility as any opportunity to enhance independence for the parent(s) and to reduce the family’s burden of driving.
  4. Choosing a location that is quick and easy for them to get to in case of emergency or to help with errands or visits to their physicians.
  5. Evaluate the activity program.  It is desirable to have an approach that includes the “six dimensions of wellness”…physical, social, emotional, intellectual, occupational/financial, and spiritual.

A few other tips:

  • Inspect the facility including the public restroom in the facility’s lobby. How clean and fresh it is speaks volumes about the pride the residents and staff takes in their home.
  • Consider the different financial structures available–rental, Life Care, or purchase.

It’s an overwhelming task for children to assist their senior parents in making this life altering decision. There are many sites on the internet that can assist you and provide information.

Here is a link to a site called HelpGuide.org that I particularly like, because it is a non-profit resource, and Ad-free that has an abundance of information to assist in the decision-making process. Here’s an article to help with your search entitled, “Understanding the Senior Housing Market”.

These are links to 4 national chains who have facilities located near when I practice in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  I have patients who have chosen to live in each of these facilities.

Brookdale Senior Living

Emeritus Senior Living

Five Star Senior Living

Aston Gardens Senior Living


To a long and healthy life!

Dr. Bernstein

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