Criteria

Choosing the best senior living options in Denver – for yourself or someone you love – can take time, effort, research, and thought.

If you are visiting senior living facilities or complexes across the Denver metro area, ideally, you’ll want to narrow your search down to 3-5 choices and then schedule visits.

But what criteria should you use to compile your short list of choices? That depends on your priorities, and for each person these will vary.

In general, though, below are the criteria you can use to begin to shape your decision:

Monthly Costs: low cost, medium cost, or high cost, and what’s included

A La Carte Services: can assisted living services be provided on an a la carte basis, with fees added to the monthly cost

Medicaid: accepts Medicaid outright, requires private pay for a period of time, or has a spend-down requirement

Size Of The Complex: residential care homes, small communities, medium-size communities, or large communities, and what types of units (e.g. how many units are independent living, how many units are assisted living, and how many units are memory care)

New Facilities Or Communities: When was the facility or community built or significantly remodeled

Types Of Units Available: shared rooms, private rooms, studio apartments, 1-bedroom apartments, 2-bedroom apartments, or 3-bedroom apartments

Location: is the facility or complex a short distance from family members’ homes, on a bus route, near Light Rail, close to shopping and restaurants

Multiple Levels Of Care Within The Same Community: does the complex include independent living, assisted living, memory care, and/or skilled nursing care

Meal Options: flexible meal plans, restaurant-style dining rooms, varying menus, accommodates dietary restrictions, can order from a menu, all meals made in house

Pet Policies: allows dogs, cats, birds, or fish, and if so, are there any weight or breed restrictions

Outdoor Areas: beautiful grounds, covered patios or gazebos, courtyards, walking paths, fountains, BBQ areas, firepits, outdoor dining areas

Amenities: private balconies, on-site beauty salon, movie theater, elegant common areas, or other amenities

Activities: what types of activities are offered and how often are they offered

Transportation: is individual and/or group transportation provided, and if so, is there an additional charge for it

Allows Smoking: indoors and/or outdoors, and are there designated areas for smoking

Non-Smoking Community: is the entire complex or community non-smoking

Assistance With Medications: is assistance with medications provided, and if so, is there an additional fee for it

Incontinence Care: is assistance with incontinence provided, and if so, is there an additional fee for it and/or do you have to provide your own Depends and supplies

Memory Care: is memory care or support provided, is there an additional fee for it, how comprehensive is the memory care, and is the environment secured

Deficiency-Free: did the facility earn a perfect score to be rated “deficiency-free” on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s survey

Non-Age Restricted: does the facility or community allow adult residents who are under the age of 55

Move-In Or Community Fee: what’s the move-in fee, community fee, or deposit required

Wait List: is there a wait list, how long is the wait list (how many people are on it, and realistically, how long will it take you to get to the top), and do you have to put down a deposit secure a spot on the wait list for the facility

Of everything above, what are your “must-have” features, amenities, or services? Start there, and hopefully the senior living community that you choose will also have some of your “it should would be nice to have…” things, too.