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  • Senior Living Advisors - Detailed Guide to a Senior Care Advisor

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Senior Living Advisor for finding Senior CareOnce a senior or the family of a senior have decided to move into a senior care home, the most emotional part of the journey is over. Choosing a home and getting admission into the senior living location you desire is the next complex part of the process. There are thousands of senior living communities all across the country, and depending on your location there may be hundreds to choose from in your area alone.

Many critical aspects come with choosing the perfect living arrangement for a senior. Their medical status and level of care required must be taken into account. Some seniors are more active than others and may still prefer to live as independently as possible. Others who may need more hands-on help or skilled nursing care will also have different needs. There may also be specific requirements a senior may have that may be based on faith, such as Christian senior living, Catholic senior living, Jewish senior living or other forms of faith-based retirement communities. Although senior living facilities will all offer room and board, that is about where the similarities end.

Working with a senior living advisor is a way to wade through the confusing process of identifying your needs and finding a location to meet them. Below, we will go more into detail about how senior living advisors work and why working with one can be beneficial.

What Role Does a Senior Living Advisor Play?

An eldercare advisor, also known as a senior living advisor, is one of the best resources available when looking for a care home for seniors. Typically, an advisor will either work independently or as a part of senior placement services agency to help families or seniors directly to wade through the numerous options available in terms of senior housing. Housing is chosen based on the available budget of the senior, their specific care needs, location, and of course, their personal preferences. Working with an eldercare advisor gives you access to their personal network of senior care communities.

Most senior care communities will pay a commission to advisors that refer a senior, after they actually enroll. This allows families to get the help of customized matching services at little or no cost. In addition, elder care advisors know the intimate details of the facilities they recommend such as their admission requirements, level of care offered, and other important facts, including whether the facility is pet friendly or not.. This allows families to make better decisions regarding long term care in a fraction of the time it would take on their own.

Do I Need a Senior Living Advisor?

There are many ways to go about finding the perfect senior living arrangement. There are plenty of search tools, reviews, and guides that can help with the process. Working with a senior living advisor will make the journey much easier and can even cut the time it takes to find a facility in half. That being said, working with an advisor is completely optional.

Getting help from an experienced senior care advisor is the best way to go if you are in a time crunch, dealing with health issues, or simply don’t understand how to move forward. Senior living advisors offer advice that is non-biased and fully supportive. Most often, they will work with you from the begging stages such as choosing the level of care needed, all the way to the day you move in. Working with a senior care advisor can turn a frightening, emotionally stressful process into a streamlined transition.

How Do I Work with A Senior Living Advisor?

The actual process of working with senior living advisors will vary depending on where you are and who you actually work with, but in general, the process follows the same route. An advisor will meet with you or your family for an interview. During this interview, they will ask you questions that cover things such as your budget, care needs, preferences, and other information. This is also a good chance for you to ask questions and get a sense of the advisor's personality. It is important to choose an advisor that you feel comfortable with and one that you trust. If you don’t click during the interview, you can always look for another person. This is also the time to outline all of the special needs your loved one may have. For example, they may need assisted living for hearing impaired, or if they are on a wheelchair, they may require assisted living for wheelchair-bound.

Once the senior care advisor firmly understands your needs and your desires, they will look for a senior care home that best fits your circumstances. This may mean reviewing assisted living centers, skilled nursing care facilities, dementia care communities, or even nursing homes. Senior care advisors can also help elderly people and their families to select retirement communities or assisted living homes if their needs are in line with these forms of living arrangements. There are many unique senior care homes such as those that are faith-based or those who cater to seniors with disabilities. If you have a substantial budget, a care advisor may also be able to match you with a luxury senior living community that has features not found in ordinary retirement communities. A senior care advisor will be able to help you get matched with one that compliments your unique circumstances.

Once the type of home has been selected, they will present the senior or their family with a list of locations. Out of the options provided, they will contact the ones that you or your family are interested in. Upon confirming space availability, dates and times for in-person visits will be arranged for each location. Most senior care advisors will also help with the admission process, provide moving resources, help with setting up payment arrangements and more.

What Can a Senior Living Advisor Offer?

If you are considering working with an advisor for senior living, you may be wondering what they actually bring to the table. Some of the benefits they offer are:

  • Customization – A senior living advisor offers a tailored experience that helps you navigate the senior living process. They take the time to get to know the resident and takes that information to find them a home they will love. This includes understanding their medical needs, addressing their fears, thinking about their emotions and listening to their desires. Such personalized attention helps seniors to not only be matched with a suitable living arrangement, but it also helps make the transition process much smoother.
  • Options – An advisor will create a list of options for their clients that covers their care options and needs. They will work with the senior to fully understand the pros and cons of each choice. The list can then be narrowed down to a handful of their top choices. A senior care advisor will also make sure that in-person visits are scheduled and will accompany the senior if requested. 
  • Realistic Suggestions – Sometimes moving to a senior living community may not fit the needs of the senior. An advisor will be able to understand the whole picture and make realistic suggestions accordingly. For example, an elderly person who has a two-story, six-bedroom home may feel like moving to a senior community is a good idea. The advisor will listen to their needs and in this case, may suggest downsizing into a senior living apartment instead, while leaving an assisted living community for later down the line.
  • Complete Follow-Through – Just handing over a list of facilities is not the end of the road when working with a senior living advisor. Once a list has been compiled and each location has been visited in person, they will help them finish the process. This can include working with the insurance company to set up payments, or helping the senior with arranging SSI, SSD or OSS payments. Most advisors also provide resources to help with the move in and the admission process.

What Should I Look for in a Retirement Living Advisor?

A senior living advisor is similar to a real estate agent, except their advice and guidance are more intimate. It is important to choose someone that you can grow to trust and whose advice is geared toward your best interest. An advisor should always be patient and happy to explain things in detail, even if you ask the same questions repeatedly. They should also be open to communication with you, any current caregivers, and your family. The choices made in regards to future living arrangements must be based on the needs of the senior as well as the wishes and desires of their loved ones.

There are so many options to choose from, and a senior care advisor will be able to connect you efficiently. Sometimes this may mean that moving to a senior care community is not the best choice, in which case they may suggest in-home care services. An advisor that has a senior's best interest in mind will suggest what is best for their lifestyle as opposed to what facility offers the highest commission.

Always trust your intuition. Moving from home to a senior care community is a difficult transition regardless of the circumstances. Such a dramatic life change affects both the senior and their extended family. It is common for seniors to have trouble trusting outsiders with such important decisions, but a high-quality advisor can easily gain their trust. Seniors who have multiple children or caregivers may not always agree on which way to move forward. An advisor is a great way to create an external buffer that can mediate between all parties and present options in a non-biased manner.

It is also important to choose senior care advisors that suggest locations on their preferred list that offer them commissions as well as facilities that don’t. Ask potential advisors if they have personally visited the senior living homes they are suggesting or if they have only spoken to the locations on the phone. Avoid advisors that only are interested in keeping their admission quotas up and choose one that offers customized living solutions instead.

What a Senior Living Advisor Won’t Do

We have already mentioned the various benefits and what you should expect from working with a senior living advisor, but there are also things they won’t do. Retirement living advisors understand the need for an efficient search and selection process, but they won’t rush their clients. Most senior care advisors will allow a senior and their family to set their own pace so that they are comfortable and make an informed decision. Advisors are happy to work with those who are just in the information gathering stage as well as those who need urgent placement.

Senior living advisors take the time to get to know their clients, so they understand their needs and desires. While they suggest different communities and facilities, they won’t try to sell a specific location just for a commission. If you find that your advisor is only pushing a specific location that doesn’t fit your needs, ask if they are paid a higher commission for that location. You can also change your advisor if you feel they are not thinking about your best interest. Advisors are usually neutral and will present a variety of options that meet the senior's requirements.

Senior care advisors do earn their fees through referrals and commissions from the facilities they suggest. As a result, seniors and their families are able to get help without having to pay anything out of their pockets. Not every senior care location offers commission or bonuses for referrals. This is important to note because advisors may not have as much information on such locations or they may not put them on the list of recommendations. It is always okay to research senior living communities on your own even if you are working with a senior care advisor.

Why Should You Work with a Senior Care Advisor?

Senior care advisors are your personal guide through the senior living process. They offer a wide range of support, advice, and resources to help families and seniors find living arrangements to meet their needs. Working with a care advisor can save you money and most of all, time. Instead of running around the city checking out locations that don’t fulfill your needs or are over your budget, an advisor can help narrow the list to a focused few customized choices.

Having an “inside” guy or girl that has the knowledge and the connections to make the process more efficient is always a good thing. A good senior advisor will be able to steer their clients clear of troublesome senior homes while suggesting those that have a track record for quality.

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