Fort Worth, Texas, is a great place to retire. From its luscious water gardens and beautiful parks to the near-infinite variety of restaurants, museums, and performance halls, Fort Worth offers a chance for a vibrant and exciting retirement. Assisted living in Fort Worth doesn’t have to mean giving up on all that the city has to offer. The best assisted living communities offer plenty of activities and outings. This allows seniors to continue living meaningful lives while getting the help they need. The search can feel daunting, though. Here’s how to begin the process.
Begin Exploring Options
If you’re new to the world of assisted living, you might not know where to begin the search. Try asking your senior loved one’s doctor for a recommendation. Many gerontologists maintain a list of senior living communities they recommend. Your loved one’s doctor can also offer insight into how much care your senior needs and whether assisted living is appropriate.
Local directories can also be a rich source of information. Try reading reviews on a senior living website or on a review site such as Yelp. Your local senior center may also have brochures and information. If the senior in your life is an active member of the senior center, they may even be friends with people who live in an assisted living community.
Friends and family are some of the most reliable sources of information. They’ll give it to you straight, openly sharing what they like and what they don’t. Consider asking what your loved ones would do differently if they had to search for assisted living again.
Compare Assisted Living Communities
Assemble a list of Fort Worth assisted living communities based on your initial search. Now it’s time to narrow down your options. Some factors to consider include:
- Community location: Is the community accessible from home or work, or would visiting be a major inconvenience? Are other loved ones nearby? What about access to local resources? An art lover might be thrilled to live near the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, while a veteran gardener may prefer to move near the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.
- Level of care: Does the community offer care that addresses your senior’s needs? Is it likely your loved one’s needs will change? If so, can the community address those changes? It can be challenging to acknowledge that your loved one might eventually need 24/7 care. But if that’s a possibility, choose a community that can meet that need.
- Amenities: How does your loved one want to spend the next chapter of their life? Choose a community that caters to those desires. Gorgeous landscaping and an indoor pool might entice one senior, while another might be most concerned with getting a room that offers lots of natural light. Consider how your loved one wants to live, and don’t settle for less than that.
Your loved one should be intimately involved in this process, even if they have dementia or another cognitive impairment. It’s their life, and they should have final say in how they live it, so ask lots of questions and work together. Doing so will make this move feel like a choice—not something you’re forcing your loved one to do.
Narrow Down Your Options
Once you have a list of three or four promising options, it’s time to assess what life at these communities is really like.
Visit the community with your loved one. Ask to see a room similar to where your loved one would live. Pay attention to what residents are doing, how they look, and whether they seem happy and well-cared-for. Eat a meal with the residents—this gives you a chance to talk to them about their lives and assess food quality.
Staff know the community best, so spend some time chatting with them. You should meet friendly, engaging people who are eager to share information. After all, these are the people who will be caring for your loved one. Ask lots of questions, including:
- What do you like most about working here? Least?
- What is a typical day here like?
- What activities and classes are available?
- How often will my loved one be alone?
- If my loved one wants additional services or amenities beyond the basics, what is the fee?
- What steps do you take to ensure residents are safe?
- How long has the average staff member been here?
- Can my loved one count on transportation to the Fort Worth community? Are there regular outings?
- Does your community offer social opportunities, such as community gatherings or dances?
- Is there support for my loved one to help them make the transition to assisted living?
- Is there a wait list?
- How long does the move-in process take, from start to finish?
- What emergency procedures are in place? What if my loved one needs urgent medical care?
- Do you have a medical team on your staff? What if my loved one needs a prompt evaluation?
- What support do you offer to families? Do you encourage family engagement and involvement?
Perhaps most importantly, follow your gut and encourage your loved one to do the same. The transition to assisted living should feel like the beginning of an exciting new chapter. While a little anxiety is normal, your loved one should not feel fearful or like they are giving up a life they love. The right assisted living community should make your loved one feel welcomed, and you should feel confident in your selection. Continue the search until you do. Knowing your loved one is safe and happy is worth the work.