Tips for Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

August 1, 2014

caregiver helping elderly women

Finding the right assisted living home for your loved one can be tough. You want the best for the person you care for, so understandably you will be searching for a facility that is a good fit and provides the highest quality of care possible. There may be a number of viable options available to you, making it difficult to know which one is the right choice. To help you in your decision-making process, we’ve put together some suggestions for determining the assisted living facility that best meets your family’s needs.

Narrow Down Your Options

Take into consideration any preferences you and your family have for an assisted living center. Location is often a critical piece for families to factor in; will it be easy for relatives or friends to get to the facility for visits? Is the home in a safe area or near to any necessary medical centers?

Furthermore, you may want to think about what size home will be most comfortable for your loved one.  For instance, some residents prefer smaller communities where they can get to know people better and don’t feel overwhelmed by the number of people surrounding them. In any case, you want a good staff-to-resident ratio so you know your family member will have access to any care they may need. Ask your loved one what he or she prefers and find a home that closely matches that size.

Schedule a Visit

This is probably the most important step to take when deciding if a particular community is right for your family member. The photos and information in a brochure can give you a basic idea of the facility, but seeing it in person can give you a more accurate reading on what day-to-day life is like.

Obviously, an attractive facility is appealing, but there are a few other elements that are worth considering. Take note of the home’s cleanliness; are the bedrooms, hallways, and dining spaces sanitary and well-kept?

Also be sure to pay attention to staff and resident interactions. Do they treat each other with kindness and respect? Do staff members seem to be attentive, caring, and compassionate to residents? Try to get a feel for the demeanors of the residents themselves as well. See if they appear happy and are interacting with each other. These will be your loved one’s peers, and understandably you want them to live in an environment where they can feel secure and happy. Ask if your family is allowed to visit during a mealtime or can briefly observe any classes or organized activities. The more aspects of daily life you can see, the better.

Bring your aging loved one to visit the facility too, if he or she is able. If he or she has any specific questions or concerns, you can write them down beforehand and bring them on your tour.

Ask About Individual Care Needs

If your loved one has any specific medical or dietary needs, make sure to bring those up when you speak to a staff representative so you know if they are they able to accommodate. Some facilities offer varying levels of care based on what different individuals may require. Your family will want to ensure the amount of care is appropriate for your relative before you make a decision, whether they are mostly independent or require more help.

Ask Security Questions

When choosing a place for your aging parent or relative to live, you undoubtedly want to know that they’ll be safe. When you visit the facility, express any safety concerns you have. How do they handle emergencies? Is having 24-hour nurse access a necessity for your family? How are medications monitored and managed? Also find out how residents contact staff members if they need help. Safety is typically a primary concern in elder care, so a good facility should have policies and protocols in place to take care of residents.

This can be a complicated decision-making process for many families, so feel free to ask the staff any additional questions. They care about your loved one’s well-being and satisfaction with their facility too.

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