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As difficult as the decision may be, sometimes the need to move a loved one from their home and into an assisted living facility has to become a reality. Once the decision has been made, how do you go about finding the right place?

Charlene Sargent, a registered nurse, is the founder and manager of Helping Hands Senior Services, a family-owned and operated senior placement agency.

Sargent has worked in skilled nursing facilities, hospital nursing in med-surgical and ICU stepdown, RN case management, and as a hospice nurse for 10 years. It was her work in hospice care that led her to start Helping Hands Senior Services.

The Process

Sargent and her staff of six work to place each client in a home that is appropriate to the client’s specific medical needs. Charlene created Helping Hands Senior Services to help guide families and their elderly family members through what she calls the “senior care maze.” Helping Hands provides a free service that matches seniors with the facility that best meets their needs.

There are many things to consider when moving a loved one or even yourself into an assisted living facility. This is where a professional service such as Helping Hands Senior Services comes in

“We gather information regarding the senior’s background, care needs, likes and dislikes, desired area, and financial situation,” explained Sargent. “This information gives us a picture of the whole person and assists us in determining what might be most appropriate for the senior’s current situation.”

After the senior’s needs are carefully assessed, the family and senior are presented with specific options that best meet their needs. The family and senior, if able, are encouraged to tour the facilities. They are welcome to go on their own, though Sargent recommends the professional accompany them while touring to assist with questions and support.

“I want to do a really good job every place that I go,” said Sargent. “If I know I can’t fulfill their needs, I refer it out.”

Why is it important to use a professional placement agency?

A reputable placement agency will do the background work for you by continually checking the surveys from the Arizona Department of Health Services . Helping Hands only works with licensed facilities.

“We will only show you homes good enough for our mom . . . and we love our mom!” exclaimed Sargent.

Tip : Use a placement agency whose services are always free to you. The agency receives a referral fee from the senior communities.

What are some of the options for senior placement?

Independent Senior Living

  • Studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments.
  • Rent starts at approximately $2,000 a month and up PLUS a one-time community fee of $2,000 -$8,000. The community fee covers expenses to maintain property, such as replacing carpet, painting, replacing furniture in the common areas, and marketing.
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)/personal care is NOT included but can be added on for a fee. Caregiver services are approximately $30 an hour with a two to hour minimum.
  • The apartment is not furnished.
  • Services include one to three meals a day with restaurant-style dining, cable, housekeeping, and linen changes every two weeks, daily activities, and transportation within 10 miles.

Assisted Living Facilities

  • Studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments.
  • Base price ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 a month PLUS a monthly level of care fee of $500 -$2,500 which includes medication management and assistance with personal care needs. Additionally, there is a one-time community fee of $2,000 -$8,000.
  • The apartment is not furnished.
  • Services include two to three meals a day with restaurant-style dining, cable, housekeeping, and linen changes every two weeks, daily activities, and transportation within 10 miles.

Memory Care Facilities

  • The monthly fee ranges from $4,500 – $7,000.
  • Most memory care units have all-inclusive pricing. All activities of daily living (ADLs)/personal care needs, meals, medication management, housekeeping, cable, and activities are included.
  • Some units are furnished, and some are not.

Group Homes/Assisted Living Homes

  • These are residential homes located all over the state. Licensed for five to 10 residents who receive directed care, which is this highest level of care, these care facilities can provide care to the end of life.
  • Monthly rate $2,200 and up (all-inclusive pricing) includes all activities of daily living (ADLs)/personal care needs, three daily meals and snacks, medication management, housekeeping, cable, internet, and activities are included.
  • Shared or private rooms available and are completely furnished including TV.
  • Residents have full use of the entire home with a family environment and dining.

Each of these settings can provide services such as a primary care physician, podiatrist, nursing, labs, and X-rays.

Suggested items to bring to your loved one’s new home.

Besides their clothing and other personal items, Sargent suggests furnishing their new room with items that will make them feel more comfortable at home.

  • Family photos
  • Favorite blanket & pillows
  • Books
  • Cell phone & charger
  • Art, paintings, knick-knacks
  • Crafts. Some residents even bring their own sewing machine.

It may not be an easy step or decision to make. “Take a deep breath and follow your gut before making a decision,” said Sargent.

Home Maintenance To-Do: #AgingInPlace


As seniors age, the decision on proper care in the home, moving to assisted living or other care facility has become a reality. But how do you go about finding the right place? Charlene Sargent Helping Hands Senior Services discusses what they do to help navigate the senior care maze and assist in the proper decision. How to keep water from leaking in and around the window? And thorn resistant gloves in our E-Store.


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