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Holiday Visits Nudge Many Towards Senior Housing Decision

Online navigational tool available to help simplify and refine search

SEATTLE, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays are over, but after a visit with an aging parent some adult children may be asking themselves whether it's time to explore senior housing options with their loved ones.

"That question often arises after a face-to-face visit with an aging parent or even grandparents," said Eve Stern, RN, MS, president of SNAPforSeniors, which has developed the nation's most current and comprehensive, online nationwide database and search tool of the 65,000+ U.S. senior housing facilities across all license types. "Maybe Mom is showing signs of physical deterioration -- like weight loss or difficulty getting around the house. Or maybe Dad isn't making the best decisions these days -- or isn't safe behind the wheel any more. Senior housing is a question you should explore together."

Stern emphasized that the search for senior housing shouldn't be dreaded, but rather researched to find the best fit. For many Americans, the concept of senior housing is limited to just nursing homes.

"There are a wide range of options to explore," she said. "Depending on the level and type of care needed each day, an older person can benefit from home health providers who come into the home to impressive assisted living communities that facilitate greater supervision, social stimulation and services all under one roof. If 24-hour care is needed, then nursing homes may be an appropriate solution. For seniors who don't need routine care but want to enjoy an active lifestyle with peers, there are a number of very attractive retirement communities with full amenity packages or Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) where individuals can age in place as physical needs change over time."

The need for senior housing is on the rise. It is estimated that one million Americans move into senior housing each year(1) and the demand is growing as baby boomers enter retirement. Between now and 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the over-65 population to increase by almost 28 percent, while the total U.S. population increases by just 9 percent.(2)

The search for senior housing is no longer a "neighborhood search" of local, well-known facilities, and new options spring up all the time. Seniors often need housing in locations far away from the caregiver or adult child who has assumed responsibility for the senior's well being.

And adult children of aging parents frequently find themselves assisting in the senior housing search-even from a distance. There are an estimated 5.1 to 7 million long-distance caregivers in the United States.(3,4)

The search for senior housing has recently become easier. In November, the Alzheimer's Association launched its Senior Housing Finder(SM), powered by SNAPforSeniors. The interactive online tool allows consumers to search a current list of licensed assisted living residences, nursing homes and other types of senior housing facilities nationwide.

The free resource, which is akin to the real estate industry's Multiple Listing Service, allows users to select from search categories such as geographic location, facility name or license type and then receive a list of qualified options. Senior Housing Finder can also screen facilities by the level of care provided consistent with the seven stages of Alzheimer's disease progression. The navigational tool helps consumers narrow the search, and then coordinate with family members to make further decisions.

Stern offered five tips for making the search for senior housing less overwhelming: (1) assess care needs and personal preferences; (2) be objective-visit for a list of all senior housing providers; (3) visit and inspect facilities on your short list whenever possible; (4) verify quality by reviewing facility surveys and inspection reports at as well as references of current and past residents and their families; and (5) confirm your choice with frequent contact and visits.

"The choice to move to senior housing should be well-informed and carefully planned," Stern said. "Caregivers who find themselves assisting an aging relative in the planning process should remember that the right senior living setting can lead to better health and safety for their loved ones, and often an improvement in their social and emotional well being."

For expanded tips or to see a live demonstration, visit

About SNAPforSeniors(R)

SNAPforSeniors(R), Inc. is a Seattle-based information company and developer of the most current and comprehensive web-based senior housing resource and listing service in the United States. This resource puts objective information about the nation's 65,000+ licensed senior housing facilities at the fingertips of consumers and their advocates. SNAPforSeniors combines advanced search tools with detailed information to connect seniors with the right housing options the first time. Through the Alliance Network Program, SNAPforSeniors licenses and private-labels its database and search tools to the websites of leading trusted sources, including the Alzheimer's Association and the Case Management Society of America. For more information, e-mail or call 1-206-575-0728.

Background for reporters:

Expansion of tips for making senior housing search less overwhelming:

1. Assess needs and preferences. What is most important to your loved

one and the family? There are two main categories to consider:

a. Care needs: Is she diabetic? Does she need help with simple

activities of daily living? Does she have dementia, or does she


b. Personal preferences: What is most important to him? Does he have

a pet that he will want to bring with him? Does he need

TV/Internet access? Does he have special dietary requirements?

2. Be Objective: Get an objective and complete list of the senior housing

options in your desired area. Visit the Alzheimer's Association's

Senior Housing Finder(SM) at to get a comprehensive list

of all senior housing providers. This navigation tool lists ALL

licensed facilities by location, so you'll be able to browse all the

options online.

3. Inspect: Narrow your search to a short list of potential options, and

then visit each place at least once to get a feel for its environment,

management and staff.

4. Trust but verify: Visit to review facility surveys

and inspection reports. Secure references from current and past

residents and their families. Then go to to find

your local long term care ombudsman, and call to ask for insights

about local facilities.

5. Confirm your choice: Once your loved one has transitioned to a new

environment, visit or make contact with them frequently to help them

stay connected.

(1) American Seniors Housing Association as printed in the July 2004 edition of UNITS magazine

(2) US Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging. A statistical profile of older Americans aged 65+. US Department of Health and Human Services

(3) National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Caregiving in the U.S. Bethesda: National Alliance for Caregiving, and Washington, DC: AARP, 2004.

(4) Wagner, D.L., Long-Distance Caregiving for Older Adults. Healthcare and Aging. Washington, DC: National Council on the Aging, 1997.

Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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