If your loved one is experiencing difficulty with day-to-day tasks, such as bathing, upkeep of the house and running errands, but does not require the 24-hour care and supervision provided by a nursing home, an assisted living facility may be the perfect solution. Here, they can receive the help they need while still maintaining as much independence as possible. Living in this environment also provides an opportunity for more social interaction and participation in a variety of activities. There are no shortage of facilities available so the task becomes finding the one that best meets you and your family member’s needs. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
The general upkeep of the facility can be very revealing about the operation as a whole. Inspect carefully—do not just look at the obvious things like furnishings. Check things like the corners, baseboards and windows. Inquire about housekeeping services and how often rooms are cleaned. Find out how maintenance issues are handled, such as broken pipes, and estimated response times.
Visit during Activity Times
In making your choice, it is a good idea to visit the assisted living facility during community events. It provides an opportunity to really see the staff interacting with the residents, how well the events are attended, what type of activities are on offer and whether or not the residents seem to enjoy them. Get more information on the types of events and activities that are regularly on offer—you want to choose a place that offers things your loved one enjoys doing.
Make Sure to Check the Outside Area
When investigating the facility, it is easy to become focused only on the inside—common areas, cafeteria and bedrooms, but you also want to make sure you take a good look at the outside areas. Getting outdoors is important and you want to make sure the area is nice. Look at how it is maintained, whether there are designated sitting areas, how safe and secure it feels and just generally, whether it seems like a nice space to spend time outside.
Personally Test the Food
Food quality is of high importance as well. You want to make sure your loved one is getting quality food that meets their nutritional needs, and most importantly, tastes good. Of course, you cannot expect 5-star gourmet meals, so be realistic about expectations. When touring a facility, eat a meal there—not only will it give you a chance to sample the fare, you can meet other residents. You need to find out about dining options, hours, procedures and what happens if a resident misses a meal time.
Inquire Thoroughly about Personal Care
If your loved one is going to require assistance for bathing and personal grooming, it is important to find out as much as you can about how this is handled. Discuss bathing options and preferences. Look carefully at the residents—do they appear clean and well-groomed? Are they dressed appropriately for weather conditions?
Inquire about Handling of Medical Issues
Unlike a nursing home, assisted living facilities do not provide round-the-clock care and monitoring. It is important to find out how they handle both emergency and non-emergency medical issues. What type of medical professionals are on staff, how many, and when do they work? You also need to know at what point, your loved one would be required to move to a facility that provides more comprehensive health care.
Trust Your Gut
This last tip may be the most important of all. When looking at facilities, go with your gut instincts. What are your overall impressions? Do you think your loved one would be happy here? Do you feel at ease or just a general sense of discomfort? Do not discount these feelings, even if you cannot quite pinpoint why you feel the way you do.
Kelli Cooper, writing for Lakewood Manor, is a freelance writer who covers all aspects of health from senior living to alternative medicine.