Looking out for the well being of an elderly parent is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Once you realize you’ll need to help a loved one find an assisted living facility, start reviewing websites and make phone calls until you’ve narrowed your choices down to a number you can manage to visit in person. Keep the following ten issues in mind during the evaluation of any assisted living facility.
Ten Things To Look For When Choosing An Assisted Living Facility
- The appropriate level of care. Assisted living facilities vary in the range of care they provide and the needs of your loved one will determine the level of care required. Highly functional elders may only need help with daily chores like cooking and cleaning while those in need of continuous medical care will require a skilled nursing facility.
- Engaging activities. Residents should have access to engaging activities that keep their minds, bodies, and spirits healthy and active. Gardening, arts and crafts, walking trails, opportunities to volunteer, access to books, games and beyond are all appropriate activities that your loved one may enjoy.
- The ratio of staff members to residents. Facilities which provide the most continuous care should have the highest staff:resident ratios, but all communities should have sufficient staff members to ensure the needs of all residents are met.
- Kind, cheerful staff and satisfied residents. Talking to residents is one of the best ways to determine the overall quality of a facility. Ask direct questions, and don’t hesitate to talk to staff members and administrators to ensure that everyone is helpful, respectful and kind.
- Cleanliness. Cleanliness in an elderly care facility is important for the health and well being of your loved one. Unpleasant smells are a bad sign, so pay close attention to what you learn through your nose.
- Security and safety features. All assisted living communities should provide basic safety features such as hand rails and non-slip flooring, but facilities offering care for those with memory disorders should have enhanced security included a fully enclosed area where those with Alzheimer’s or dementia can move about with becoming lost.
- Quality of food. Foods that are appealing and highly nutritious go a long way in enhancing the lives of elderly care residents. Ask to see a menu and make sure that the foods served will meet the needs of your loved one. Ask about the availability of special foods, if necessary, and try to stay for a meal to get a better feel for the overall quality of the food.
- Inspections, residence rules and admissions contract/procedure. Ask to see copies of any recent inspections performed within the facility and review the residence rules and regulations. It’s also important to examine the admissions contract – be on the lookout for hidden fees or procedures that could compromise the well being of your loved one.
- Location. Ideally, the facility you choose will be close enough to encourage frequent visits from friends and family members. Residents should also have access to shopping, medical care (beyond what is provided at the facility), entertainment and more.
- Affordability. Many people feel that cost should be considered first when selecting an assisted living facility, yet it’s important to let the needs of your loved one dominate the search for an appropriate organization. Budget constraints should certainly be taken into consideration, but do your best to balance the quality of care provided with the total expense involved.
An Act of Love That Brings Peace of Mind
Taking time to carefully select the best assisted living facility for your elderly loved one is an act of love that will help bring you peace of mind. By starting many months to a year before your loved one actually needs to move, you’ll allow yourself plenty of time to find a community that truly meets their needs without breaking your budget.