You or your loved one has decided it’s time to research or even move to an assisted living community.

You or another family member may have come to visit Mom or Dad for the holiday and noticed a change.  Perhaps they seem a bit sad, they have lost some weight, they are not taking their medication as prescribed.  You may have noticed they are having more difficulty with walking or balance.  They may be having difficulties with driving or have had accidents.  Do they appear fearful or angry?  This may appear to be an overwhelming task and one in which you may not have planned to ever be in need.

Now what?

The following guidelines may be helpful:

Decide where you want to look

Are you interested in a particular town, city or region? Do you want to be within a certain driving distance from loved ones? Use these factors to identify the geographic area you are searching in.  Is the community close to highways, health care and your interests?  Does the community offer transportation to physician offices or have a physician available at the community as you age or may not want to go to physician offices?

Palm Cottage Assisted Living and Memory Care is a uniquely designed neighborhood of eight cottages.  Each cottage is designed much like a home; there is a living room, dining room, kitchen, den, and bedrooms.  It is located close to I-95 in Rockledge, Florida.  Transportation is available to physician offices, as well as there are physicians which come to the community.

Research communities in your geographic area

What specifically are you needing?  Be specific in your search—do you want assisted living versus other types of senior housing, such as independent living or nursing homes? If you do not find assisted living in your area, you might want to broaden your geographic region slightly. As you do your research, be aware that Florida has four different licenses available.  Each license is specialized care.  Not all assisted living communities offer the same services, care and staffing.  The differences are quite substantial.

Palm Cottage has a Standard and Extended Congregate Care license which means that care can be provided to the highest level of assisted living in Florida.  Most care can be provided and you or your loved one may be able to remain at one location without having to move again.

Identify your must-haves and nice-to-haves

Amenities vary from community to community, so it’s important to know your priorities before you start touring facilities. Most communities offer dining, housekeeping and transportation, but some offer perks like onsite salons. Will you have frequent visitors? Make sure guest parking is available.  Is it important to have small hallways and easy access to dining, activities, health needs?  Is a park like neighborhood important?  Will you need therapy and exercise to remain as mobile and healthy as possible?

Palm Cottage offers chef-prepared meals for the cottages.  Our residents enjoy waking up to the smell of bacon on the stove and meals with a small number of friends!  Walking to the dining room is simply feet away, which is such an advantage, as opposed to long hallways and elevators.  Our park-like neighborhood with benches, streetlights and beautifully manicured lawns is appealing to the nature lover.

Sit down with your finances

First, establish your income from all sources, including family support, social security, pensions, 401(k), etc. Then look at owned assets such as homes, cars and property, minus the amount owed on these items. Identify your monthly expenses above and beyond what assisted living will provide. With these pieces of information, you can quickly determine what level of assisted living you can afford. Ideally, you will want to consult an independent financial advisor or trusted family member/friend for help determining what you can afford.  Plan for the future.  Does the community offer Medicaid if needed at a later date?  Does the community have a professional available to answer your questions about insurance or Medicaid?

Palm Cottage’s experienced and knowledgeable professionals can provide some guidance to you regarding available resources including VA Aide and Attendance benefits, and other basic questions.

Contact your physician

Be sure to contact your physician to assist with the next step in choosing the right care for you or your loved one.  You will need a physician evaluation for any care services.

Palm Cottage will assist you in working with your physician to acquire needed assessments and orders.

Read the fine print

Once you have identified your top choice and your budget to cover it, you will be ready to take the next step. Always be sure to read contracts and terms carefully to make sure you are getting the best value and quality of life for your money.

Assisted living is a great option for seniors who need some support but still want to maintain an independent lifestyle. Congratulations on taking the first step toward researching and or choosing a community that is right for you or your loved one!

Palm Cottage is available to answer any questions you may have regarding types of senior care available, as well as the steps needed to acquire care and services. 

Contact:  Sandy Richards, Palm Cottage Assisted Living and Memory Care, Sales and Marketing Director at 321-633-1819 for a tour and to answer your questions regarding assisted living options.