"I'm calling from Bend, Ore. My folks are having some health problems and have been talking about moving into some sort of apartment-type facility where services might be available. Any suggestions?"

"Hey, I'm in the hospital and it looks like with rehab, recovery and a more limited lifestyle, I might need to check out some different living options. Got a list you can mail me?"

"I've heard of a few places that people can move to and get assistance with their care, but they all sound different. Aren't they all pretty much the same? Which one's best?"

The type of questions above, plus all their variations are often asked by folks or their family members when living at home is no longer safe or practicable. And they're great questions!

There's nothing like knowing you need to move somewhere and having little or no information about where to go. Information's like a lot of other things - what you need, but don't have suddenly can become very important.

In the world of social work and human services (hopefully both are people-related!) terms such NF, AL, AFH, Boarding Homes, etc, get tossed around fairly often. So much so, that we tend to forget we are in fact speaking in socialese, and have neglected the people-related part of things. For many folks (all of us?) what we don't know, we ... well, don't know.

Should you find yourself in such a situation, what you don't need is: a) lots of general information buried in acronyms; or b) theories and hearsay. What you need is specific information. After all, you're looking for a new home. And while many agencies may have lists of various places, they (we) may not have all the facts about what each place may be like.

Enter SNAP. If you have a computer, have access to one at the local library or if you have a family member who can help, I recommend going to (www.snapforseniors.com), a Web site which can be very helpful. It's an easy-to-use site with tons of information about types of places including nursing facilities (NF), assisted living (AL), and adult family homes (AFH). And you can search relative to state, county, zip-code, name, whatever.

Entering the county you're looking for will take you to different types of places, where they're located, what services are available and so on. Some of the places have also added virtual tours so you can get some idea of what they look like. If you already know the type of place you need, you can narrow the search by simply checking the appropriate box on the search screen (home page).

SNAP really is a great resource and again, it is very easy to navigate through. Take it for a test run. As always, however, a strong recommendation: Wherever you choose to relocate, drop by for a visit. Virtual tours and written information is one thing; getting the "feel" of a place is another.

Take the time to check it out-it could be your new home.

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