Should You Use a Senior Living Referral Agency?
Finding a senior community for a parent is a complex process even when you plan in advance. For most families, though, the need for a care facility comes on suddenly due to an illness, fall, or other major event. Then families are dealing with uncertainty and stress while trying to manage the logistics of finding a suitable place, sometimes with only a few days to make a decision. In either situation, and especially in the second, professional help from a senior living advisor can save time and reduce stress so you can focus on your parent’s emotional and health needs.
Reasons to work with a senior living referral agency
You may want to work with a senior living advisor if:
- Your loved one needs a place to live soon, such as after being discharged from the hospital.
- You don’t live in your parent’s area and aren’t familiar with the local options.
- You have other obligations like work and kids that limit the time you can spend researching senior housing.
- You want a curated set of high-quality options to choose from.
How a senior living referral agency can help your family
Senior living referral agents will ask about your family’s situation so they can identify communities that provide the right level of care. They’ll offer options within your family’s budget that match the kind of lifestyle and setting your parent prefers. You’ll get a list of communities that most closely meet your criteria, and your advisor can arrange for visits to the places you want to see in person. Once you chose a community, your advisor can provide tips for a successful move-in.
Questions to ask a prospective senior living referral agency
Before you work with a senior living advisor, there are a few questions to ask:
Who pays the agency?
In most cases, the advisor’s services are free to you because they get referral fees from the communities in their database.
Are the advisors familiar with the city or neighborhood where your loved one needs care?
Local experts are more likely to offer options you’ll like. If you live far from the loved one you’re helping out, local knowledge is even more important.
Have the advisors provided care for seniors in a senior community or as a family caregiver?
This isn’t a must, but the experiences that former caregivers bring to their work as advisors can add extra empathy and familiarity with what you are going through.
Can the agency refer you to other professionals you’ll need?
Where to find senior living referral advisors
You can find senior living advisors locally by asking hospital social workers, your parent’s geriatrician, and friends and neighbors for recommendations. You can also get in touch with SeniorAdvisor’s parent company, A Place For Mom, which is the largest senior living referral service in North America. A Place For Mom’s network has hundred local advisors across the US and several Canadian provinces to provide you with local options even if you don’t live near your parent or loved one. Most of APFM’s senior living advisors have direct experience caring for an aging relative, and more than half have experience working in senior living communities, so they know the logistical and emotional challenges of helping a loved one find care.
Whichever referral agency you chose, be sure to ask the recommended questions — and any others you have about the process. A good senior living advisor is ready to help you with all aspects of this transition.