Choosing an assisted living facility for your parent or loved one is not something to take lightly. You want to ensure they can provide the best quality of life possible.
You need a place that can provide a safe and soothing environment with attentive care.
As you visit locations, do you know what you’re looking for?
What is Assisted Living?
Before jumping into how to choose an assisted living facility, it’s important to understand exactly what assisted living entails. This way, you can help your parent or loved one choose a location with their best interests in mind.
What is assisted living? Assisted living provides:
- Housekeeping and activities of daily living
- Opportunities for social interaction
- Medical care (in some cases)
- Memory care (in some cases)
It’s important to understand that each person’s needs are unique. An assisted living facility should be able to adapt to your loved one’s changing needs.
How to Choose an Assisted Living Facility or Memory Care Facility
If you’re just beginning your search, you probably already know you should visit several facilities to pick the right one.
But do you know how to choose an assisted living facility? Which location is the best fit for your loved one?
If they’re physically able, bring your loved one with you to all visits. Have them see the rooms and share a meal in the dining hall. If your loved one has been particularly reluctant, this can help them feel in control of the process.
If they aren’t able to leave the home, ask the front desk for lots of photos and brochures. Let your loved one get a good idea of the atmosphere, meals, and activities. Make sure they stay actively involved.
1. What is the Staff to Resident Ratio?
In general, you’ll want a facility with a high number of staff members compared to residents. This means more attentive care for your loved one at any given time.
At the same time, you should consider types of staff. Does the facility’s staff to resident ratio consider administrative staff? You’ll want more staff members who take hands-on roles for activities, personal care, and general resident needs.
2. How’s the Food at the Memory Care Facility or Assisted Living Facility?
Older adults require different nutritional needs. Make sure the facility can compensate for your loved one’s or parent’s allergies or special dietary needs.
Sit down with your loved one for a meal at each facility you visit. Do they serve a wide variety of food? How does it taste? Food is an important factor for maintaining an individual’s physical health and overall wellbeing.
3. Does the Assisted Living Facility Offer Specialized Care?
Does your parent or loved one have special medical needs or chronic conditions such as diabetes or COPD? Do they need assistance with dressing and bathing? What about physical therapy? Do these services cost extra? Check with any potential facilities to find out what kind of specialized services they provide.
Keep in mind that your loved one’s needs may change down the road. Make sure the facility is one that can increase care and assistance as your loved one needs it, to avoid going through another move.
4. Do They Offer Memory or Dementia Care?
A dementia or memory care facility will usually include open floor plans, shorter hallways, and a calm environment. Staff are specially trained and educated to assist residents with memory conditions.
If your loved one faces memory challenges or a condition like dementia, make sure any potential facilities offer memory care. Keep in mind that their condition could change as time goes on and you’ll want a facility that’s prepared to compensate for that.
5. Does the Staff Seem Happy?
Facilities with a high staff turnover rate or a generally unhappy team could indicate you or your loved one might not receive the best care possible.
If staff seem cold or reserved this could indicate they feel overworked and underappreciated. When you visit a facility, ask the staff members how they like working there and consider their general attitude.
6. Is it clean?
Of course, you’ll want to check the cleanliness of rooms and dining halls. But management knows you’ll be looking there.
As you walk around the facility, check hallways for dust and public bathrooms. Is the outdoor area well maintained? This can seem petty, but overall cleanliness can say a lot about how the facility treats their residents behind the scenes.
7. What Type of Activities Do They Offer?
Facilities should provide a wide range of activities to fulfill social needs and engage your loved one in interesting ways.
Talk to your parent or loved one about interests they have or activities they’d like to try. Make sure they offer lots of activities. It’s also important to spend time outside the facility should their physical safety not be at risk. Does the location offer supervised bus rides to stores and other activities?
8. What Do the Residents Think?
When you visit a facility, ask the residents how they like it. Is there anything they don’t like? What would they change? Residents will likely be very vocal about any concerns they have.
Look around as you visit the facility. Do the residents seem happy and content? Do they seem bored or inactive? Pay special attention to the general atmosphere of the facility. Is it a particularly calm and upbeat place? Or does it give off a hopeless and sterile feel?
(Article courtesy of The Victorian Assisted Living)
Kelly’s Retirement Homes are an Assisted Living Facility that honors and respects our residents and treats them with dignity. We provide the highest possible quality of compassionate care while ensuring each resident’s right to privacy and choice in their daily lives.
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