What Is An Assisted Living Referral Service
Assisted Living Referral Services or Assisted Living Placement Agencies (as they were called prior to the Internet age) are organizations that help families identify which assisted living residence is best for their loved one. Choosing a residence is a surprisingly difficult process, especially for persons unfamiliar with assisted living and who are currently caring for an elderly person. They are also helpful for persons who live far from their loved ones that require care. Referral services provide significant assistance in narrowing down the choices and they provide their services to families free of charge.
Services Assisted Living Referral Services Provide
When matching an individual to an assisted living community, there are many factors to be considered, such as location, cost, current and future care requirements, and amenities. Referral services can provide all of this, as well as more community-specific information in minutes. Were an individual to attempt to gather this information from each of the many assisted living communities in their preferred geographic area, it would take them days of phone calls and meetings. It would also subject them to countless sales pitches in which it would still be difficult to obtain the information they require.
In addition to the obvious information a family would want, referral services also have access to information about which a family might not necessarily think to inquire. Information, such as pricing variables, occupancy rates, number of residents, resident to staff ratios, proximity to hospitals, family reviews, and resident complaints. Furthermore, referral services can save families money by helping them to understand how to negotiate with the assisted living residence and making sure they sign-up for the correct level of care.
Prior to deciding on a community, most families will take a tour of the residence. Tours are necessary, but vastly time-consuming, difficult, and emotionally challenging. Working with a referral service might decrease the number of tours that are needed from 5 to 6 to just 1 or 2. In addition, they provide scheduling assistance in arranging tours.
Pro's of An Assisted Living Referral Services
How Assisted Living Referral Services Are Compensated
Assisted Living Referral Services is a FREE service to the client who they are placing. The agency is directly compensated by the community that you or your loved one moves into. Payment occurs 30 days after client has moved in.
How To Best Use An Assisted Living Referral Service
While assisted living referral services help you figure out which is the best assisted living community for your loved one, it is helpful to give some thought about assisted living residences prior to contacting them. At a minimum, you should know the location in which you are seeking a residence. Be that a specific city or town, or (for example) something less than a 30-minute drive from your home. You should also know the approximate type of care your loved one requires, specifically do they require assistance because of Alzheimer’s / dementia or simply assistance with the activities of daily living. Finally, you should also know if you are seeking the most affordable assisted living in the area, a mid-range or high-end residence.
Once you contact the referral service, ask them specifically what other factors should be taken into consideration when choosing an assisted living residence. Keep a list of the factors and request that the referral service research those factors for all the potential communities in your area.
When you’ve narrowed the decision down to several options, ask your Referral Service Advisor about negotiating with the communities. They should be able to discuss "occupancy rates” and know which fees are negotiable and which are not. Use the Service to pit one residence against another to determine if a discount is available.
A good assisted living referral service will be informative and unbiased about the residences. If they do not know an answer to a question you have, they should volunteer to find that information out. They should not put that responsibility on you. They should also be responsive. Expect answers to your questions (which they cannot answer immediately) within a day or two. If they don’t respond within that time frame, expect them to follow up and say when they will be able to respond. Finally, if you do not like the service you are receiving, do not hesitate to find another service. You are under no obligation to continue working with anyone just because you initially started working with that agency.