The Role of a Senior Housing Advisor

The Role of a Senior Housing Advisor

The Role of a Senior Housing Advisor

Do you handle your legal affairs without consulting with your attorney?  Do you file your own tax returns without consulting with your CPA?  Do you handle your financial matters without speaking with your financial advisor?  Seeking the advice of an expert is a wise decision.  An expert has years of experience in the specific area you are considering and has much more knowledge and resources available to give you the best possible advice.

Selecting and moving to a senior community is a life-changing decision.  It involves a financial commitment, lifestyle choice, downsizing adjustment and many emotions. The last thing you would want to do is move somewhere and not be happy or find out the senior community has some financial or operational issues.  Yes, you can try it do it on your own, however wouldn’t it be better to seek the advice of someone who truly knows the ins and outs of all the places you are considering?

Be wary of senior housing internet search providers. These companies aggressively advertise on the internet.  What you don’t know is that once you call them or fill out their online form, they basically “own you” and will sell your contact information to third parties.  You will be bombarded with phone calls and emails. The worst part is that these internet search providers know very little about the senior communities they are recommending.  They seldom visit these places and are not current on any issues the senior community could be experiencing. They provide you with a list of places that they have under their contract, which may or may not fit you needs. It is much better to work with a Senior Housing Advisor who is knowledgeable about the local market and all the senior living options.

We know what you don’t know!  

As a trusted senior housing advisor, our role is to provide you with the possible advice.  We are familiar with all the places in the area and keep current on pricing, availability, significant operational and staffing issues as well as future trends in the market place.  We do our best to match your needs and preferences to the best options available.   We know that some folks are ready to make the move, but want the peace of mind of knowing they have reached ahead for their future options.

Senior Housing Solutions is locally owned and operated and has over 30 years’ experience in the senior housing industry.  Our personalized approach allows us to get to know you and help you every step of the way.  Our proven 5 Step process provides you with a comprehensive and objective information to help you with your decision.  Best of all, our services are 100% FREE!   It’s what we do!

  • Step 1:   We meet with you to get to know you, most of the times, this is done in the comfort of your own home.  We discuss your needs and preferences and provide you with a list of assisted living options best fits your needs.
  • Step 2:   We schedule visits with communities of your choice and join you during these community visits to help represent you. We ask questions on topics you may not know to ask and follow up with you to discuss pros/cons of each of your options.
  • Step 3:   We review pricing, level of service plans and residency agreements to make sure you fully understand the fine print at these communities. We review State of Florida Health Care survey reports and negotiate pricing, as appropriate.
  • Step 4:   We provide you with comprehensive and trusted resources to assist you with the move transition and provide you with recommendations of key professionals, as necessary. We also provide you with resources to assist you with your Veteran’s Benefits.
  • Step 5:   After you move in, we will follow up with you to make sure you are happy with your decision.  We will discuss any issues with community staff for resolution and communicate with your family, as appropriate.

We are in your corner, every step of the way!

We hear reviews from many of our clients who tells us that could not have done it without our help.  Personally, I am not sure how anyone can make this type of decision with our expert advice and why would you want to?  Our services are free so why wouldn’t you utilize them?    We look forward to speaking with you. 

Top 5 Assisted Living Researching Tips

Assisted Living Researching Tips

Researching an Assisted Living Facility is a difficult and complicated process.  The decision to move involves many factors including financial, lifestyle and health care needs and preferences.  In addition, the emotional factor can never be understated. Learn more about the top 5 Assisted Living Researching tips.

1).    Start the process early.

Finding the right place will take time and it is always better to make a decision when you are not in a crisis mode.  Most people would rather not move than go through the ordeal of moving, so it is important to understand that this is process may take some time.

It is also important to recognize that many people have preconceived thoughts about what an assisted living facility is like and feel if they are not living at home, they will be  as losing their independence.  Amazingly, people actually gain more independence since they are burden with household responsibilities and have access to social activities, dining, transportation and  on-site health care services.

2).   Utilize the services of an expert.

Attempting to do this alone is not a wise idea. Utilizing the services of a professional who is familiar with all the options in the area and can help streamline the process will not only make the process easier, it will reduce your stress and help you make a better, well-informed decision.  Be careful of online internet search providers, which will come up high on your Google searches.  These companies advertise free advice, however they rarely know anything about the places they are recommending.  Once you fill out their online, be ready to be immediately bombarded with phone calls.  In addition, all of your contact information is now their property and they will sell it to third party vendors, like medical alert companies, hearing aid businesses and even cremation companies.  More phone calls!

There is a better way.  Utilizing a senior housing advisor in your local area, such as Senior Housing Solutions will provide personal, concierge-level referral services for you.  We are familiar with all the options in the area and stay current on availability, pricing, staff turnover and health care surveys.  Our services are provided at NO COST to our clients and your information is always maintained with the highest level of confidentiality.  We are knowledgeable, compassionate and resourceful when you need it the most.  Our proven process helps you every step of the way.  For more information, go to: 

3).   Know about the different types of assisted living licenses.

Many people do not know that there are different types of assisted living licenses which impacts what and what not an assisted living facility can provide to you.  The last thing you want to do is move twice, so it is important to know everything up-front.  Licenses vary from state to state. In Florida, there are Standard, Extended Congregate Care (ECC) and Limited Nursing Services (LNS) assisted living licenses. A good resource is the Agency for Health Care Administration for the State of Florida

4).   Understand the terms of the contract.

Reviewing the contract terms is an important step in the overall process of researching an assisted living facility.  What services are included and what are extra?   Knowing about the additional fees, including charges for levels of care, will help you make a well-informed decision.  You might want to consider utilizing your attorney to review the contract so you are familiar with all the terms and conditions.

5).   Be realistic about your expectations.

Moving to an assisted living facility will be an adjustment.  Your ‘new normal’ will take some time to get used to.  Understanding this on the front end will help you.  If you are a couple, it is always better to move together so you can make friends and get settled together.   If you are single  you will have an opportunity to meet many new people and it won’t take long for you to find your niche.   Keep in mind that nothing is ever perfect.  Be  patient and understanding to the staff and you’ll see that most issues can be resolved, however if problems continue, it might be necessary to speak up.   If you feel you’ve made the wrong decision,  it is better to seek an alternative living arrangement rather than sticking with something that is isn’t the right fit.

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Top 10 Senior Housing Researching Tips

Senior Housing Researching Tips

Selecting a senior living community is a complicated process.  Here are the top 10 senior housing researching tips.

1).   Consult with a senior housing advisor.   Make your life easier by consulting with an expert who is familiar with all the options in the area and someone who takes the time to understand your wants, needs and desires.  Ideally, this advisor should be looking after your best interest and have a fiduciary relationship  with you.  Understand how the advisor is compensated since some advisors will collect commissions from the senior housing community they recommend to you which may not be in your best interest.  This is could be a huge conflict of interest.

2).   Determine where you want to live.   This might seem basic, but it is amazing how many people research senior housing communities in areas that they know they don’t want to live.  Speak with your family and determine geographically where you want to live.  Once you have narrowed this down, try to narrow it down even further by zeroing in on specific areas within that geographic zone.  This will help you pin-point your research.

3).   Determine your time frame.   There is a saying we have in this business.  “It is better to be 5 years to early than 5 minutes too late.”  Many quality senior housing communities have medical acceptance criteria to move in; therefore if you wait too long, you may not get accepted.  Think about your time frame and what needs to occur between now and then. Keep in mind that researching various senior housing communities will take some time, so you probably want to start earlier than what you imagine.  Some senior housing communities have wait lists, so it might be necessary to get your name on a list before you are able to move in.

4).  Review policies and procedures.   Understanding the rules of the senior housing community is something that many people fail to do before they move in. Some examples include:  Is there a dress code?  What is the pet policy?   Can you use your extra meals for guests?  What are the qualifications of the person who is responding to your apartment in case of an emergency?   As a senior housing advisor, this is an area were true expertise helps to ask questions that you may not know to ask.   It is always a good idea to get a copy of any agreements you will be expected to sign and have your attorney review these documents.

5).  Tour one senior housing community per day.    Visiting a senior housing community take a lot of energy.  Call ahead and schedule a personal tour of the senior housing community.  Where comfortable shoes since you should be prepared to  walk some distances during your visit.  Take notes and ask questions that you want to ask.  Keep in mind that not only do you want to look at apartment floor plans, but more importantly, you want to get a feel of the lifestyle of the community.  Can you see yourself living at this senior housing community?

6).  Tour the health care facility.  One of the main reasons you are considering a move to senior living community is for the peace of mind of on-site health care services, therefore touring the health care facility is a must in your research.   When touring the health care center, pay attention to how the residents are being treated by the staff.  Take a look at the activity calendar and the menu.   Observe if the facility appears clean and fresh.  If possible, speak with family members to see if their loved one is receiving quality care.   Most states conduct annual inspections.  Ask to see the inspections reports for the last couple of years.

7).   Sample activities and dining.   As part of your research, it is important to sample the lifestyle of the senior housing community you are considering.  Take a look at their activity calendar to see if there program that interest you.  Maybe there is an exercise class you can join in on.  Maybe you are join a bridge group to see if the other residents are similar to you.    It is also a good idea to have dinner at the community.   You might be offered lunch, however dinner is where you will meet the majority of residents.  The more can get a feel of the lifestyle of the community, the better you will be able to determine if this is the right community for you.  Your transition will also be much easier since you will already know some people when you move in.

8).  Understand the pricing structure.   It is important that you fully understand the pricing structure of the senior housing community you are considering.  What are the refund provisions?  What is extra?    Is future care included or do you pay extra for it?   What has been the history of rate increases?   It is also important to understand how financial stable this senior living community is?   The last thing you want to do is move to a place and later find out that this community is having some financial challenges.

9).  Look beyond the glossy brochure.   You receive a beautiful brochure in the mail and you think you’ve found nirvana.  Everyone looks so youthful and happy in the photos.  The community is clean and immaculate.   Unfortunately, these are paid models in the photos and the community photos are staged.   Yes, its a good starting point, however there is much more to your research than the brochure.

10).  Make an educated decision.   Utilize the resources you have to help you make an educated decision. Consult with a senior housing advisor to gain valuable insight into the senior communities you are considering.  Ask questions and find a community that fits your lifestyle.  Take your time, but don’t wait too long.

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