MARINETTE — The daunting task of researching assisted living facilities is a procedure many families have to go through at some point or another. No family is the same and no needs are identical, making this a difficult process. People want to be absolutely sure their loved ones will be well cared for, and places like the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) in Marinette County exist to help.

“What we encourage people to do is, if the family or the individual thinks they want to explore the next options of assisted living, we encourage them to come and talk to us, because we can talk to them about all the options available,” said ADRC Supervisor Pam Daye.

Daye said there are plenty of options available that would allow a person to stay in their homes before moving to an assisted living facility, “so we encourage people to come here, and we’ll talk them through the options,” she said.

She said there are several signs that can indicate to a family that it’s time to begin looking at the options for assisted living. “Families see some self-neglect possibly; maybe people aren’t eating well, they’re not taking care of personal hygiene, maybe they’re isolating themselves,” she explained. “That’s what a family member would see.”

An individual may start feeling stress that they aren’t able to meet some of their own care needs or the responsibilities of maintaining their home. “But every situation is different, so there’s nothing really clearly black and white that says, ‘Now is the time,’” Daye said.

Though every person and every situation is different, according to Daye, it’s never a good idea to wait for a crisis to happen to make this decision. “When a crisis happens, you’re forced into making decisions, usually faster than you want to, and you can’t explore all of the options,” said Daye.

Once it becomes clear that the right time has come, the next step to take is to research the facilities in the area. “There’s a lot of options under that umbrella (of assisted living). There’s one- to two-bed adult family homes where you live in a family situation, there are three- and four-bed family homes, there are community-based residential facilities, residential care apartment complexes and senior living, and we have all of these in our area,” Daye said.

In addition to the ones already here, Daye said there’s a new location called The Cottages, which will offer memory care. “The more resources we have, the better,” she said. The target date for this facility’s opening is Nov. 1, according to Daye.

The ADRC gives people looking into assisted living a checklist to follow when looking for the right place. The questions to ask on this list include: “Does the home have visiting hours or other restrictions on visitors? Is help provided with laundry, housekeeping, meal preparation, shopping, transportation, financial management, etc. as needed? Is there a call system for emergencies in rooms or apartments?”

The list also suggests they look at the privacy of bathrooms in the facility, if nurses are available and how often, if the facility is clean and if the staff seems truly concerned about the situation and eager to help.

Another barrier that many families run into is the ability to pay for assisted living. Daye said that some are able to afford it on their own, and some require some extra assistance. Daye said some facilities aren’t as expensive as others, and there is aid available to those who need it.