This post, discussing the assessment process for senior living, is part of a series exploring the different questions that come up when searching for senior living solutions. Follow along in our “What is Senior Living?” series to learn more about the ins and outs of senior living.
“You mean I have to take a test before I move in?”
Don’t let the words “assessment” or “evaluation” give you test anxiety! An evaluation for senior living is actually a beneficial meeting between a senior care community and their potential or current resident, and when appropriate, their family members, too.
There’s no one-type fits all approach when it comes to senior living. Everyone has a unique situation and care needs to consider. When questioning what care level or living style might be right for yourself or a loved one, know that you are not alone. Senior living communities can help provide answers and recommendations to help you make informed decisions about what may be best for yourself or a loved one by doing an evaluation.
What is an Evaluation?
An evaluation is a thorough health and lifestyle evaluation that should be conducted by a skilled professional to determine an appropriate care level, care plan, and living situation – and can help in estimating costs of living. Setting up an evaluation involves calling a senior living community and scheduling an appointment, typically at a location of your choice. A senior living community professional would then do the evaluation.
Common care levels a professional could recommend may include: assisted living, transitional care, or memory care. They may also recommend a care partner in the community that they feel would be a more appropriate fit. Once the professional shares their recommendations, it is up to you or your loved one to decide what you want to do.
Knowing how to make an evaluation appointment and that it can empower you or your loved one to make informed decisions can be a great relief. But you’re probably wondering, what all is evaluated, and how does it all happen?
What is Evaluated?
There are many areas to explore when determining care needs. Radiant Senior Living’s Regional Director of Operations, Teddi Neilson, has conducted many evaluations and said most families are pleased with how thorough the process is. “We do an evaluation so we can develop a care plan for residents, so we know all their care needs prior to [them] coming into the community,” she said. “It’s like a road map to their care!”
Wellness Nurse Matt Hackett from Radiant Senior Living’s Farmington Square community in Eugene, Oregon, said going through an evaluation is establishing a partnership. “I explain what I’m doing ahead of time,” he said. “We’re partners in this together and while you’re here, I’m your Nurse, and I’m here through everything you need – any questions you have, any changes – we’re doing this together.”
Areas Often Evaluated
- Customary Routines (sleeping habits, favorite foods, social patterns)
- Activities of Daily Living (dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting)
- Current diagnosis and any medications or treatments
- Pain, including assistance that may be needed to manage the condition
- Transportation and general safety questions
- Family assistance and involvement
When Are Evaluations Done?
Typically, after an initial evaluation, one makes a decision about their living situation. If they choose to move to a senior living community, the recommended care level/care plan would continue to be determined on day one, and monitored thereafter. Individualized care plans are created and updated from evaluation findings.
At Radiant Senior Living communities, a licensed nurse conducts an assessment at move in. Then, a licensed nurse conducts assessments on a regular basis following the person’s changing needs or preferences, assisting the other team members with the evaluation and care plan.
How to Talk About Evaluations With a Loved One
If you or a loved one are interested in an evaluation, but are nervous about it, that’s totally understandable. It helps to think of it as an appointment for needs to be heard, so those needs can be taken care of, and so future needs can be anticipated. Let a loved one know that they are an active part of their own care plan and that it’s all about gaining knowledge.
Hackett said he feels it’s helpful when a family is able to be aware of the care plan and part of a resident’s support system. “It’s a plan that everybody can follow together to really try to get [residents] to their optimal health and situation,” he said.
Have you taken part in an assessment for yourself or a loved one? If you have questions or comments about the process, please let us know in the comments below!
If you have further questions, we welcome you to reach out to or visit one of our 19 senior care communities throughout the Northwest in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, and Montana. Find a Radiant Senior Living community near you and contact us today!