Choosing a Senior Housing Facility or Care Option: A Step-By-Step Matching Process Posted by Jennifer Campbell in on 03 Apr 2006STEP 1: Evaluate the needs, desires and resources of the prospective senior resident. NEEDS—Needs encompass what is absolutely necessary for a senior's life to continue in the best possible setting. If you are unsure about the level of care or type of housing needed in your specific case, you might begin by using our Care Interpreter™ tool which returns a matching level of care based on your responses to a questionnaire. You may also refer to the various levels of care described in the Types of Senior Housing & Care article and see where your needs fall in this range between fully independent living and round-the-clock skilled nursing. To view each state licensed level of care and how they can be accessed on New LifeStyles Online click here. Another factor is deciding when a move is necessary or desirable. DESIRES—Desires are what we are naturally drawn to or what sounds the most appealing for a specific situation. An important first consideration is where you want your needs met. You may want to stay in your current home and have a variety of home services delivered there. Or you may choose to move to a facility, like an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home. Then you must decide if the facility should be near the current residence or close to the home of a family member. Do you want a large campus-style facility, or a residential-type home that more closely mimics your current residence? Would you prefer a facility operated by a particular religious or fraternal organization? Is a particular climate important? Etc. RESOURCES—Resources include the income and other resources (such as savings, investments, or the sale of a residence) that can be devoted to home care or a senior residence. Generally speaking, Medicare covers only a small percentage of those who require intense nursing or home health care services. In most cases, expenses will be covered by the individual, Medi-Cal or by Medicare, if the person qualifies and is unable to pay the full cost. Costs for independent and assisted living facilities are almost always the responsibility on the individual. You may wish to consult an attorney or financial planner prior to making senior housing and care decisions. STEP 2: Evaluate your housing and care options This may sound more difficult than it actually is. Did you know you're on the nation's leading senior housing and care site? From our search area, select the area of the country and level of care, type of facility or care option closest to your needs. Read the facility descriptions and check locations. Talk at length to the admissions coordinators at all the facilities that match your criteria. Information on accreditation, online tours, services and amenities are all available online for many facilities, along with links to a wide array of organizations and information sources on topics relating to senior care options. STEP 3: Finally, and very importantly, visit your top candidates. If possible, schedule a visit to the facilities of your choice and then return later unannounced. Other articles on New LifeStyles Online will help you determine what to look for and what questions to ask. If you've found New LifeStyles Online helpful in making your selection, we would appreciate you mentioning that to the facilities you call and visit.