Whether time allows for a carefully planned senior transition or it’s a sudden event and a loved one needs a place to rehab or even live, a professional consulting company can assist you in making the transition easy and informative.
In a conversation with Best Nest Senior Advisors Cindy Richards and colleague Rob Stearns bring their combined total of over 35 years of hands-on senior living experience and expertise to find the best fit for families. Richards, a Certified Senior Living Advisor, has almost three decades providing guidance and placement within senior living communities.
The company’s mission is to positively impact the quality of life for today’s seniors one relationship at a time.
Stearns knows first-hand how important the transition can be. His beloved mother began suffering from dementia in 2014, and Rob was her primary caretaker. After his mom passed in 2021, he decided to dedicate his life to helping other families. He chaired the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the past three years and teamed up with Richards at Best Nest Senior Advisors to help other families.
Richards explains, “A senior living placement company is considered senior living real estate brokers that are experts saving hours of research, time and money. They simplify the search and decision making based on their personal experience knowing the ins and outs of buildings based upon a family’s budget, demographics, lifestyle and interests to ensure a smooth move and transition.”
Stearns added, “By bringing a referral company in early, you benefit from their knowledge and experience to find the best solutions for your family before crisis mode. Choose a concierge company that will hand hold you throughout the entire process.”
Questions Best Nest Advises You to Ask:
Why should I use a referral service? Selecting the appropriate senior living options for loved ones can be a giant maze. You always want an advocate to represent your best interests to navigate the obstacles including each individual’s personal challenges.
What services will they provide? A good local referral company will hold your hand throughout the entire selection process, helping to vet the various communities and find the best options. From setting up introductory zooms, meetings and more, they will negotiate the best value proposition and make sure you ask the relevant questions. Many referral companies also provide families with a list of vetted resources pertaining to seniors and next steps with home care, hospice, real estate, movers, VA benefits etc.
How do I select the right one? Try to find a Certified Senior Advisor who specializes in gerontology and knows the ins and outs of how to navigate the process. Is this a month-to-month lease? Is there a yearly increase? How do the levels of care work? When will my parents have to leave?
There are two licenses in Georgia for assisted living — one is a Personal Care License, and the other is an Assisted Living License. This will determine whether they can age in place or have to leave if their level of care gets too high, such as if they become a two-person assist.
What can I expect to pay? Referral companies are available at no cost to the family as they are compensated by the communities once a new resident moves in.
How do they select which properties to partner with? Details such as which companies have the best ownership, management team, care level, activities, least amount of turnover and even food are all factors in choosing the best fit.
Most referral companies are not only a resource for senior living communities, but can offer advice on a range of related services from moving to hospice. Richards shared, “Moving is hard at any age, but as a senior it can be a huge setback in health. There are three levels in senior living [communities]: Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care, and a good referral company will help determine the best living environment.
Stearns added, “A placement company’s job is to guide you through the process and help place your loved one in an ideal environment where they can thrive, by assessing the situation with their many years of experience. I only wish I had known about them when I started out as I could have avoided some costly mistakes with my mom.”