Assisted living facilities are, in many instances, the perfect choice for older adults who need assistance with some or most aspects of their daily life. However, not all assisted living facilities are suitable for a senior loved one, and you need to be careful when evaluating your choices. To make this process easier for you, here are 12 factors to consider when selecting an assisted living facility.
- 1 1. Location
- 2 2. Facility Size and Overall Feel
- 3 3. Range of Services Provided
- 4 4. Adopted Safety Measures
- 5 5. Available Amenities
- 6 6. Accreditation and Training of Staff Members
- 7 7. Ability to Meet the Changing Needs of Your Loved One
- 8 8. Track Record of the Facility
- 9 9. Visiting Regulations
- 10 10. The Fine Print of the Assisted Living Agreement
- 11 11. The Facility’s Culture
- 12 12. Cost
- 13 Endnote
Proximity to loved ones should always be a top priority when selecting an assisted living facility for an older adult. Seniors always look forward to spending time with family members, and you need to settle for a facility that makes visits easier to avoid loneliness and feeling of abandonment. You will need to go the extra mile and find a good neighborhood that will allow your senior loved one to thrive. Facilities such as Longhouse capitalize on this aspect as it offers seniors the joys of living in a quiet, safe, and laid back neighborhood.
2. Facility Size and Overall Feel
Take time and evaluate the size of an assisted living facility, as this dictates how much a senior loved one will love the facilities. Typically, larger facilities tend to have a broader array of amenities, such as a big entertainment and exercising center, but it comes with the challenge of dealing with more seniors. On the other hand, smaller facilities are more compact, and while you might not have a large entertainment center, it offers a ground for superior care.
3. Range of Services Provided
While you cannot ignore the benefits of assisted living for seniors, you need to be aware that different facilities offer unique packages to their residents. This calls for a thorough evaluation of the range of services a facility provides and how best they suit the current and anticipated future needs of your loved one. A general principle is to pay extra attention to the specialized services that seniors often require, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, and heart health programs.
4. Adopted Safety Measures
One of the most critical healthcare lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the importance of rapid crisis response procedures and systems. When assessing an assisted living facility, the odds are raised as seniors are more vulnerable to diseases and accidents. Aim to acquire as much information about the safety measures in place to protect all residents and how they handle emergencies.
5. Available Amenities
An assisted living facility needs to be an accommodating environment that provides seniors with various amenities to make their stay in the community enjoyable. For instance, if a senior loved one likes staying active, you should prioritize a facility that has a game room, fitness center, and large open spaces for strolls. On the other hand, a senior who prefers a relaxed lifestyle will do better in a community with an active book club or art program.
6. Accreditation and Training of Staff Members
Staff members in assisted living facilities should be properly trained and accredited to care for the elderly. Always inquire about these qualifications for the peace of mind that your loved one will be in a community that understands the dos and don’ts for senior care. Most importantly, consider the staff-to-resident ratio, as this determines the level of attention your loved one will be receiving.
7. Ability to Meet the Changing Needs of Your Loved One
You must always factor in the likelihood that an older adult will require an extra level of care that requires a transition to a rehabilitation and skilled nursing care community. In turn, it is best to opt for an assisted living facility that will ease this transition when the time comes. In many cases, these facilities will be part of a broader continuing care community or open to providing referrals to their residents whenever there is a need.
8. Track Record of the Facility
Increased reports of elder abuse and neglect while in assisted living facilities have made it vital to investigate a community’s track record before settling for its services. Do not ignore complaints that you come across from families who have used the facility before, as this is often a red flag about underlying problems you are likely to experience. Pay maximum attention to the management team as they heavily influence how the facility is run and its standards.
9. Visiting Regulations
Always inquire about the visiting hours and regulations set out by an assisted living facility to determine whether they suit your expectations. If there are too many restrictions, you will have a harder time seeing your loved ones, which could negatively impact them. You will also have a harder time knowing about their condition and how well they have adjusted to these new living conditions.
10. The Fine Print of the Assisted Living Agreement
The devil is always in the details, and when selecting an assisted living community, it is vital to assess the fine print of the provided contract. Beware of any verbal guarantees that are not included in the agreement while paying extra attention to:
- How medical issues will be handled
- Details of the meal services
- Extra services that can be offered
- Type of accommodation provided
- Range of programs available for the residents
11. The Facility’s Culture
Assisted living facilities thrive with an established culture that focuses on enhancing a sense of unity and happy living for all residents. To know a facility’s culture, make it a priority to tour the facilities and pay attention to the general feel of the environment. Watch how staff and residents interact, the quality of meals offered, and whether there is a feel-good vibe from the moment you get there.
Never underestimate how much it will cost to have a senior loved one stay in an assisted living facility that offers an outstanding level of care. Know all the details about the community’s charges and whether there will be extra costs if a resident suffers from certain physical and mental illnesses that affect older adults. Armed with this information, you can determine whether these costs will be sustainable and how best to adhere to the preset payment policies.
One of the most challenging decisions you will ever have to make is finding the right assisted living facility for a senior loved one. With the aid of these tips, you can make the best possible decision.