ALFA launches new resource for seniors and family caregivers

The internet is a valuable resource for both seniors and family caregivers. In addition to being a useful tool when it comes to information on healthy aging, the web is vital to many people who log on to research potential retirement or independent living communities. In an effort to streamline the process, the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) recently teamed up with Caring.com to launch a directory of communities across the United States.

The directory is a simple way for seniors and family caregivers to look for an establishment that suits their needs. Users can search for locations based on a variety of criteria, including the level of care needed, where the community is situated and what kind of services are offered. Officials from ALFA say that providing a central resource can help families and seniors out in a vital part of their decision making process.

"Researching senior living communities online is only scratching the surface when it comes to finding the right senior living community," said Richard P. Grimes, president and CEO of ALFA. "There are many types of communities available to fit the many needs and preferences of individual seniors and their families. ALFA encourages consumers to tour several senior living communities before there is a critical need."

The partnership between ALFA and Caring.com sheds light on how important it is for families and seniors to look into every aspect of retirement communities. Aside from searching online, there are a number of other steps caregivers and their relatives should take before deciding which community is right for them.

One of the most important things to take into consideration is the atmosphere of a prospective retirement community. During a visit, seniors and their family members look at everything from a community's physical appearance to the well-being of its residents. Talking with people who have lived there often provides a good snapshot of what prospective residents will experience. 

Of course, atmosphere is not the only important factor - it's also critical to look at the services each community offers, notes ALFA. For instance, prospective residents and their families should ask about services such as physical and occupational therapy, medication management and other medical treatment. Additionally, it's important to see whether there are features such as clubs, classes and opportunities for exercise to help facilitate a healthy lifestyle for seniors