Tips for Picking an Assisted Living Facility
The decision to move a loved one into an assisted living facility can be especially difficult. Accepting the fact that you and/or your loved one no longer have the ability to consistently care for them is also hard to come to terms with. But, when it comes down to it, your loved one’s care and happiness is the priority. That is why picking an assisted living facility is an extremely important decision that should be done with plenty of research and care. It may seem as simple as using Google to find the place that offers residents the most for the cheapest price, but there is much more that goes into finding the perfect assisted living facility.
Unfortunately, one reason you need to be careful during this decision-making process is the staggering number of assisted living residents who end up abused. Despite the fact that state and federal laws require serious cases of abuse be turned over to police, NPR reports that 28 percent of serious cases of abuse across the country are not reported to the police.
It is important to note that this figure only relates to cases in which the abuse was serious enough to send a resident to the emergency room. The other 72 percent of abuse cases were reported, which is a step in the right direction but also indicates that abuse is still happening.
So, what things should you keep in mind when picking the right assisted living facility for your loved one? There are many things that need to be taken into account, and it’s best to start by compiling a list of assisted living facilities that meet certain requirements.
These requirements should include proximity to your own residence, price and offerings. The location of the assisted living facility is important. In the event you are needed by your loved one, it should not be difficult for you to make your way there in a short period of time. The location also matters in terms of how close it is to a hospital, police station or fire department in case the facility itself has an emergency.
Price is always a big issue when it comes to choosing the right place. Some states are much costlier than others.
Those costs can go up if the resident needs special care for any reason. For example, a resident with Alzheimer’s might incur an additional cost of $1,000 on top of the monthly fee. The good news is that many states have other options available to help subsidize costs for those who might be unable to shoulder the financial burden. When looking at assisted living facilities, it is important to know your budget ahead of time and keep that in mind. Do not overextend yourself, and research any cost-saving options.
When it comes to looking at what an assisted living facility offers, there are a lot of things to consider. While this facility will ultimately be a place for your loved one to live and sleep at, you still want them to be in a place where they are not bored.
That means making sure there are regular activities offered. This may include game nights or field trips, or having things like libraries where residents can pick up something to read. These types of offerings will help in keeping up the quality of life of your loved one.
Another important aspect of an assisted living facility to look at is the food they are serving their residents. Find out how they get food, what kind of food is offered and how many times a day food is offered. You want to make sure your loved one is receiving a healthy and balanced diet during their time there.
After compiling a small list of options, the next step to selecting an assisted living facility is to go out and visit the places in person. This is an extremely important step to take because how facilities present themselves online can be vastly different from how they look in person.
Ask for a tour of the facility and have important questions prepared. You should ask about the ratio of staff to residents — a number that shows how much attention your loved one could be receiving. While you go on the tour and ask questions about things like maintenance, food, programs, etc., also use your senses to make observations.
Smell can be a dead giveaway to the cleanliness of the facility. If a place smells like stale urine, there is a chance it is not cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Use your eyes to observe how the staff interacts with its residents. Take note if they use residents’ names and observe their general demeanor in terms of tiredness.
A good general question to continually ask yourself is: Would I be happy living in a place like this? If your answer is “No,” there is a good chance it might not be the best place for your loved one. It is also important to get input from your loved one and find out what interests they have or things they hope to be able to do after moving into an assisted living facility. That conversation might be tougher for some than others, but it is one that should be had.
Throughout the whole decision-making process, you should be doing your best to find as much information as possible about the assisted living facility you are likely to choose. Ask friends, family or co-workers if they have had any experience with the facility or what they may have heard about it. Knowing the history of your potential choice can put your mind at ease or may reveal a good reason to not make that your final choice.
There is clearly a lot that goes into picking the right assisted living facility. You want your loved one to receive the best and most hospitable care without having to worry about abuse or neglect. Be proactive and involved in the decision process and figure out what seems to work best for your loved one and for you. At the end of the day, you will not regret the time and effort you put into making the right choice.