What is the Best Search Option for Elderly Assisted Living in
As an owner of a Home Care Organization in Contra Costa County, I have witnessed the
wide range of emotions, challenges, and concerns a client’s family experiences once they
decide to end in-home care and move their loved one to an assisted living facility. One of
the biggest challenges a client’s family faces is choosing the care facility a loved one will
likely spend the remaining days of their life at. For the last two decades, the only two
options for finding a facility were to personally cold call and screen facilities in the area or
enlist the help of a placement agency.
The first option is time consuming and stressful because it requires a lot of research to find
all the facilities in a given area. Assisted living facilities can be as small as a residential care
home that cares for just a couple residents to larger assisted living facilities with hundreds
of beds. In California, there are over 7,000 licensed elderly assisted living facilities, with a
majority of these being residential care homes that care for up to 6 residents (often referred
to as “board and care” or “6 beds”). Once a facility is identified, the next step is to
determine what type of assistance and services the facility offers and whether it’s a good fit.
Vacancy and pricing must be researched once a list is narrowed down. If all criteria are met,
a family would then visit the facility and interview the administrator. If the site visit didn’t go
well, then it’s back to the list of even less qualified options to choose from.
The second option, which is used often and by many, is referred to as a “placement
agency.”A placement agency will work with a number of facilities in each area and refer
these facilities to inquiring families, free of charge to the families. The agencies provide
information on their list of facilities and may help families with the screening. However,
these facilities pay the placement agencies a hefty referral free (o