Families face an intimidating number of options when they are looking at senior living residences, so it's best to start with the basics - what does an older adult need in terms of services?
If he or she is independent and able to perform everyday tasks without help, then the best home may be an independent living community, which can offer housekeeping, dining and entertainment services.
Assisted living facilities are for seniors who may need help bathing, dressing and eating.
Skilled nursing is a third option for older adults who require 24-hour supervision and help with specific medical needs.
After narrowing down which kind of living option is best, families should then consider visiting a number of different communities. Try to observe the care that seniors receive and pay attention to the ratio of staff to residents.
The Chicago Tribune suggests that it's also important to talk about an older adult's specific health needs to see if they can be met by the facility. One should also ask questions of both residents and staff to get a feel for the relationships and social life inside the community.