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Waiting Lists
Plan Early to Avoid the Wait List at Assisted Living

Assisted living is the favored senior housing for older adults over the nursing home option. Assisted living allows individuals a higher level of independence by adding comfortable living features with safety procedures and measures.

If an older adult is healthy and requires minimal assistance with daily living activities, assisted living is a marvelous choice. It's carefree, loaded with fun activities, like-minded peers, and adds secure measures to feel safe. A resident has many options to choose; an apartment equipped with amenities of a home, a studio, a cottage, or a private bedroom. A resident decides which living model best suits one's lifestyle.

Residents rest easy knowing a trained staff is on hand as soon as one needs it. If she needs help with bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and eating - it's all there, but check to see if fees apply for the added help.

Plan Ahead

Plan early for Assisted Living
Plan early for Assisted Living

When an individual becomes interested in moving into an assisted living community, the first thing to do is research, ask questions, and then schedule personal tours. All facilities are happy to help you in coordinating a visit and eventually, the move.

Even if a person is not ready to make a move, it's a good idea to plan ahead by joining the waiting list program at the facility. It gives you ample time to learn more about the facility and other options available.

Is it necessary to join a waiting list?

More likely, yes.

In a survey conducted by the CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities, 29% of senior housing communities currently have a waiting list for admissions.

Does this facility currently have anyone who is on a waiting list to be admitted to this facility as soon as a place becomes available?
Responses of don't know (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Facility Responses)

Wait Lists Set-up Next Stage Preparation and Organization

After deciding which facility fits your needs and desires, join the wait list first, and then begin organizing what you'll take in the move. When joining a wait list, it'll eliminate panic and free you up to make informed decisions and be in control.

When is the best time to move?

It's complicated knowing when is the best time to move. The ideal time is when a person is capable of participating in the decision, in the downsizing, in the packing and in the move.

Do not wait too long. Prepare early and remain in control.

Benefits of Assisted Living

Benefits of Assisted Living
Benefits of Assisted Living

It prolongs independence and well-being.

In 2010, there were 31,100 communities nationwide with the capacity to serve 971,900 individuals. Most of the residents are female, according to the National Center for Assisted Living.

The most common type of assisted living is a continuum care community, which offers a step-wise approach. The model allows a person to age in place, meaning the older adult never has to leave the grounds for housing. A resident buys an apartment or cottage, and then as the health declines, the facility provides continuing care or nursing care.

Assisted Living is in Demand

Because assisted living is modern and due to the rising numbers of seniors, facilities have a hard time keeping up with the demand.

The CDC survey found that most assisted living facilities with a waiting list have 2 to 3 people on it.

If there is a waiting list, what is the current number of people waiting to be admitted to this facility as soon as a place becomes available?
Responses of legitimate skip (71%), and don't know (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Facility Responses)

Assisted living is a solution for people who cannot live at home, independently. Adults prefer this carefree lifestyle, one that eliminates housework, cooking, driving, cleaning and shopping.

Reasons Seniors Move to Assisted Living

  • Built-in network of nearby family, friends, and neighbors
  • Transportation that's easily accessible
  • Neighborhood that's safe
  • Modified home that reflects evolving needs
  • No home and yard maintenance
  • Physical and medical needs do not require a high level of care
  • Available and active social living
  • No cooking - all meals prepared

Since older adults choose senior housing once their mobility lessens, an assisted living helps them be active and avoid isolation, loneliness, and depression.

It's important to have a plan now, before needs change and before you're forced to move from home. Plan now because the average length of time that a prospective resident waits for admittance into a facility is typically over 180 days.

If there is a waiting list, what is the average number of days that prospective residents are waiting to be admitted to this facility?
Responses of legitimate skip (71%), and don't know (< 1%) and are not shown.
Source: 2010 CDC National Survey of Residential Care Facilities Survey (Facility Responses)

Where to begin when Assessing Assisted Living Needs

Evaluate Care Needs
Evaluate Care Needs

When evaluating your residential care needs, think about the types of help or level of care you need now and in the future? If you have a chronic medical condition that worsens over time, think about how you plan to handle the health issues and mobility concerns. What are the complications? Do you need daily help now?

Where do you want to live? Think about the current location and its accessibility to the larger community. How far is your home from shopping, medical facilities, or other services? Can you drive? Do you have public transportation access where you live now?

Do you have social support? How easy is it for you to visit friends, neighbors, or engage in activities? Are you battling isolation and depression?

Are you receiving help from a caregiver now?

Do you know your financial budget?

What are your current expenses? Assisted living is expensive, but extensive in-home care is too, especially when needs escalate to 24-hour coverage. Do you have long-term care insurance? If not, check into it now. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides housing options for older adults under a certain income limit.

Still Confused?

Get a professional geriatric care assessment. Geriatric care managers assess an individual's health and their level of capabilities of the situation, including crisis management, interviewing in-home help or assisting with placement in an assisted living facility.

The more you know, the better your decision.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.