HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT ASSISTED LIVING
Looking for an Assisted Living? While the process of touring senior communities is difficult and can feel overwhelming at times, follow our 3 helpful tips that below that will guide you in finding the perfect place.
Download our free “Community Tour Checklist” when touring different prospect Senior Living Communities to help you compare communities and find answers to important questions.
1. Perform the Senses Test
It’s as simple as that. Pay attention to what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. How does the facility look? What are the noise levels? Is there dust on the shelves and handrails? Does the food look and taste good? Is the facility scent-free or smell good? Your senses will not betray you and will give you a quick way to compare facilities.
2. Pay Attention Less to the Facility and More Attention to the Residents
Too often when we tour care homes, we are distracted from what matters most by the new floors, extravagant entryways or beautiful physical features of the building. While finding a facility that is clean and well-kept is important, the best way to know how well your loved one will be taken care of is by looking at the residents. Are they happy and engaged in activities? Are they clean and well-groomed? Do their clothes look clean and in good condition? By paying close attention to the current residents when you tour, you’ll be able to gauge the quality of care being provided by the staff.
3. Find the Right Fit for Your Loved One, Not for You
In choosing the right home for your loved one, an important step often missed is sitting down and discussing what’s most important to your loved one in finding their new home. There is not a one-size-fits-all facility out there, so different people will prefer different types of facilities. And don’t forget, while a convenient location might try to tempt you to choose the closest location to you, having the peace of mind of knowing your loved one is happy and well-cared for is always worth a few extra minutes.
IS ASSISTED LIVING RIGHT FOR YOU?
Is your loved one ambulatory (able to walk)?
Assisted Living residents are often times ambulatory and able to get around on their own. Residents in wheelchairs can also stay at Assisted Living Facilities; however, they generally must be able to assist with transferring themselves. While there are communities that have mechanical lifts, most facilities are not able to accommodate residents that require two person assist. For residents requiring little to no assistance, Assisted Living Facilities would be your best option. For residents requiring two-person assist for transferring, Skilled Nursing Facilities would be the best option.
Does your loved one need help or assistance with cooking and cleaning?
Assisted Living Facilities are perfect for those who are still independent but need help with household tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Residents are able to choose activities to participate in, and still have the independence to make decisions on how to spend their time. For residents that still want to cook and perform other household chores, Independent Living Facilities provide the benefits of an assisted living community full of social events and activities, while allowing you to maintain full independence.
Does your loved have Dementia?
Most senior care facilities are trained in handling residents with Dementia; however, if your loved one is prone to wander, is difficult to redirect, or is sometimes combative, a Memory Care Unit might be needed. These units or facilities have added security features and designated staff specialized in handling those with advanced stages of Dementia. Asking facilities about their Dementia programs is a great way to know if the facility is right for your loved one.
Does your loved one require medical attention on a consistent basis?
Assisted living communities offer assistance with “activities of daily living.” such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting. If you loved one requires medical attention from a nurse or physician on an ongoing and consistent basis, a Skilled Nursing Facility would be more preferable.
Does your loved one prefer large social events or smaller more intimate settings?
Assisted Living communities can vary in size. Larger communities offer a wide variety of social events and activities that are perfect for those that are social butterflies. If a more intimate setting is preferred, Residential Care Facilities (RCFEs) provide the perfect living space, as the facilities are located within a residential home and neighborhood. They still provide the same level of care, that includes activities and gatherings, but with fewer residents residing at these facilities, the care is often more personalized.
Does your loved one have a wound, colostomy, require insulin or a trach?
Assisted living communities rarely allow residents with these conditions. Only those communities with on-site nurses 24 hours a day are able to provide these types of care. Skilled Nursing Facilities or a Congregate Living Facility would be the best option for these types of care.
Does your loved one require rehabilitation after a surgery or hospitalization?
Rehabilitation services are best provided at a Skilled Nursing Facility and covered by Medicare or other Insurances. It is worth noting, however, that once rehab is complete, many seniors may need to move into an Assisted Living Facility long term.