There are many special concerns for anyone considering assisted living for an aging parent, sibling or relative. Other than care and support, there is also the issue of quality in terms of service, particularly where long-term care is required. To make sure that you choose a facility for assisted living that has all the features that will be advantageous to your loved one, here are some of the factors you need to consider:
Level of care
Assisted living is just one of a few terms used in the senior care industry. In some facilities, the term may be different — Board and Care, Personal Care or Residential care. What these terms mean is that the senior who enters the facility will be given professional assistance, albeit to a limited degree. He/She is still free to live independently and perform basic tasks such as shopping, banking or participating in sports.
When choosing a facility for assisted living, check if the community is appropriate to your loved one’s physical ability, health requirements and social preferences. Services offered in a facility can vary, so it pays to know what type of support a senior can expect and make use of to keep them secure and healthy. Some facilities, for example, may offer basic services but not nursing care or advanced medical care. If the senior requires it, you might want to look at other options instead.
Periodic inspections are performed on assisted care providers to determine whether the facilities keep up with industry standards and best practices. Ensure that the facility you choose has a license to operate in the state and that it is up-to-date. Better yet, check the requirements in your locality. Licensing requirements can vary depending on the state, so make sure the facility meets the standards in your area.
Ask to see any results of county inspections from those in charge. In most cases, a copy of the license or certificate is displayed within the facility and may be used as a reference during your visit.
Experience and background
Be warned that requirements for national licensing of assisted living facilities are not uniform, so it’s important that you are assured of a professional, skilled and experienced staff to give support. Try to research any background information regarding the facility. In general, past performance is a good indicator of the facility’s ability to offer a sufficient, safe and secure haven for your loved one.
It’s also important to consider how well the senior could fit into his new home. Try to determine if the assisted living facility offers the kind of activities the senior will like. It is also a huge plus factor if there are residents in the facility who have similar interests, so it will be easier to form mutually beneficial relationships.
Money can be an issue when deciding on an assisted living facility. As such, it’s important that you are prepared to shoulder the cost. Factors such as location, support and advanced services such as nursing care could require you to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. If the senior switches to Medicaid, some facilities may no longer allow them to stay, so it pays to check. Unless you have an endless source of cash, it would help to find a facility that offers the right kind of care for the right price.
As someone about to place the care of a loved one on someone else, you should try to be very observant about what you see, read and hear. A good facility for assisted living should have a lively but professional feel. It should be a place you know you can leave a loved one to be cared for and not worry about their wellbeing. If for any reason you’re uncomfortable, try to find out why. In most cases, you may be right about your instincts.