SOURCE: SNAPforSeniors

April 04, 2007 09:00 ET

SNAPforSeniors™ Eases the Search for Senior Housing With Free Tips Booklet "Senior Housing: What You Need to Know"

How to Assess Your Housing Needs; How to Examine Various Housing Factors; How to Determine Important Personal Preferences

SEATTLE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 4, 2007 -- Understanding your short and long-term needs is the first step to success when researching senior housing options, according to the free, 12-page educational booklet "Senior Housing: What You Need to Know," available for download at www.snapforseniors.com. The booklet was developed and written by SNAPforSeniors in collaboration with Senior Services. SNAPforSeniors is a free, online senior housing search and matching resource that lists all licensed housing providers in the U.S. and shows those currently accepting new residents. Senior Services is the largest non-profit agency serving older people in Washington state.

"Whether driven by an acute medical situation or a lifestyle choice, identifying the best elder housing options for oneself or a family member is one of the most stressful and complicated decisions of a lifetime. An estimated 9 million Americans live more than 100 miles away from dependent parents, making sourcing and screening for appropriate housing an even greater challenge," said SNAPforSeniors CEO Derek Preston. "Finding a qualified list of choices based on one's individual needs is essential to making an informed decision."

Five tips from SNAPforSeniors and "Senior Housing: What You Need to Know" follow:

1. Understand what you need in the short and long-term from a senior housing community. Think about what factors are most important to you and your loved ones.

2. Get an objective and complete list of the senior housing options in your desired area. Call your local Senior Information and Assistance program or visit snapforseniors.com to get a comprehensive list of all senior housing providers.

3. Once you have a short list of potential options, visit each place at least once to get a feel for its environment, management and staff.

4. Visit www.medicare.gov to review facility surveys and inspection reports. Secure references from current and past residents and their families. Go to www.ltcop.org to access your local ombudsman and call them for insights about local facilities.

5. Once your loved one has transitioned to a new environment, visit or make contact with them frequently to help them stay connected.

Today, one in four American families cares for an older relative, friend, or neighbor and half of all elder caregivers also work outside the home, reports the Department of Health & Human Services. In fact, age 85 and older is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, according the U.S. Census Bureau.

Major considerations when searching for senior housing include:

1. Cost: What resources do you have to pay for senior housing?

2. Location: It's best to find senior housing that is convenient for relatives and friends to visit.

3. Care services: Choose a facility trained in handling specific health and special needs, such as Alzheimer's.

4. Room type and meals: Check out the rooms and visit a facility during mealtime. Are the residents provided a suitable area for eating? Is the food healthy?

5. Activities and amenities: Learn what activities and amenities are available for residents to make them feel at home. Can residents create a personalized space with their own belongings?

6. Transportation: Residents may need transportation for medical appointments, shopping, entertainment, or to visit friends and family. Does the facility provide transportation or must that be separately arranged? Make sure there are safe, appropriate vehicles with drivers who are carefully screened.

The complete 12-page booklet, "Senior Housing: What You Need to Know," is now available for free to download at http://www.snapforseniors.com/Default.aspx?tabid=208. Highlights include:

--  Assessing your housing needs
--  Examining various housing factors
--  Determining important personal preferences
    
Physicians, healthcare and other elder-serving professionals may contact SNAPforSeniors at info@snapforseniors.com or 1-206-575-0728 to request free booklets for distribution to patients and clients. Only shipping fees will apply. Consumers may contact SNAPforSeniors to request a free booklet with no fees.

About SNAPforSeniors

SNAPforSeniors (www.snapforseniors.com) is a free online senior housing information resource that enables users to search and match all licensed housing providers in the U.S., and invites facilities to post acceptance of leads and inquiries on their listings. SNAPforSeniors routinely updates its database of more than 65,000 licensed facilities and select independent living communities. It provides comprehensive profiles summarizing the level of care and lifestyle accommodations available at these facilities. SNAPforSeniors licenses its data and search services to third party Web sites such as hospitals, non-profit organizations and commercial sites serving seniors and their families. SNAPforSeniors sophisticated decision support tools directly matches a senior's specific lifestyle and care-level needs with a qualified list of facilities that meet the unique needs of the senior. The free service is easy-to-use and available to consumers and professionals. It safeguards users' personal information and will not release it to anyone without the user's permission. SNAP stands for Search New Available Places (SNAP). Based in Seattle, Wash., SNAPforSeniors is led by CEO Derek Preston and President Eve M. Stern, RN, MS. For more information, email info@snapforseniors.com or call 1-206-575-0728.

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