It is important to know the common assisted living search mistakes to ensure that you find the right facility that meets your elderly loved one’s care needs. Choosing the right assisted living is crucial since it will have a significant impact on their quality of life, health and happiness as they live out their golden years.
Avoid these Assisted Living Search Mistakes
1. Waiting last minute to look for an assisted living facility
People often put off looking for a care facility for their elderly loved ones until the last minute or when the need for assisted living arises. This not only can cause added stress for your family, but your elderly loved one will also be put at risk. Rather than finding a facility that is the best fit, your loved one will be at the mercy of being placed into facilities that have available vacancies.
To prevent this from happening, it is important to start the search as early as possible so you can thoroughly research and check on multiple facilities. This will enable you to compare facilities to one another and help you pick the facility that you see best fit.
2. Not visiting the assisted living facility
Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to confirm what you have gathered by visiting the assisted living facility and seeing it for yourself. Take the time to tour the facility and observe the residents and its staff members. Never base your decision just on a colorful brochure with a cheery senior on the cover, or on a pretty website.
3. Not discussing care options to your senior loved one
As much as you think you know what’s best for your senior loved one, it is still important to ask for their input and take into consideration their needs. Seeking their opinion shows that you value and care for their welfare, which can later on help decrease or prevent feelings of abandonment, loss of independence, or any negative sentiments from your elderly loved ones.
Discussing the plan with them also ensures that the assisted living facility you have selected both meet you and your loved one’s preferences. Remember that if your loved one is happy in their new home, it will help minimize any problems and even the possibility of having to move them and repeat the facility search.
How to Avoid Assisted Living Search Mistakes
Now that you know what assisted living search mistakes to avoid, here are four tips to assure that you choose the best possible assisted living facility for your elderly loved one.
1. Involve your loved ones in choosing a facility
In order to understand your loved one’s needs, required level of care, and the type of activities and amenities they want, it is very important to discuss with them the available care options. This also allows your elderly loved one to be part of the decision-making process so that they are less likely to feel left out of important discussions regarding their future.
2. Ask the right questions
Don’t just rely on what’s provided on the brochure. Call the assisted living facilities in your area and interview them. Prepare questions that are often not addressed in the brochure and be sure to ask the right questions. For example:
- Do they perform background checks on staff members?
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- Do they train their staff members and caregivers to ensure quality service?
- What is their CPR Policy? Do you agree with it?
- Do they provide plenty of opportunities for activities and social interaction?
- How much do they charge? Are there any additional fees?
3. Do your homework
Now that you’ve narrowed down your selection of to a few assisted living facilities, do a thorough background research and check out the following:
- Call State licensing to check the facility’s records, complaints and any violations
- Facility ratings with the Better Business Bureau
- If the facility is a small care home, check with neighbors in the area if possible
- Any existing online reviews and ratings
- Ask for a list of current and prior resident families to call
4. Visit the assisted living facility
Visiting the assisted living facility or community you are considering is the only way to get an idea on the what is best for your loved one. Interact with current residents, observe how the caregivers treat the residents, talk to staff members and the director and look for any red flags.
Here’s a guide on:
“How You Can Try Using Your Five Senses When Touring the Assisted Living Facility”
1. Sense of Sight
When touring an Assisted Living facility, it is important that you observe and be mindful about the things that you see around the facility.
- Do you see seniors socializing with other seniors?
- Do you see attentive and caring caregivers who respond to the needs of the seniors right away?
- Do you see any resident in a wheelchair alone with no caregiver close by?
- Do you see any senior alone in their room during the day?
- Do you see happy seniors? You can tell by their facial expressions.
- Is the Assisted Living facility clean?
You might also want to check the activities calendar for the assisted living residents. If there is an activity during your assisted living tour, it might be a good idea to check it out so you can familiarize yourself with social and recreational programs available.
You can also tell if the assisted living facility’s staff truly cares about their residents by the pictures or any awards they display in their facility.
2. Sense of Smell
The smell of the assisted living facility says a lot about the quality of service provided. Does the assisted living facility smell? If it has a bad odor, it means that the facility is not well maintained and the residents are not being well taken cared off.
The facility should not smell bad if:
- Caregivers are giving residents a bath on a regular basis
- The facility is being cleaned regularly
- There are no spoiled food in the kitchen
Ask Yourself: How can the facility provide quality, senior care services to the residents if they cannot even maintain their facility properly?
3. Sense of Hearing
Listening to how the seniors speak to each other will be a good indication about the residents’ mental status and health condition. The conversations and tone of the seniors’ voices will reflect how happy or how sad they are in the assisted living facility. Here are some questions to consider for this sense:
- Are the residents interacting with each other?
- Are the caregivers respectful and patient when they talk to the residents?
- Do the staff members respond to the seniors in a timely manner?
- Do you hear any arguments between the staff members and management?
If you have time, talk to the senior residents. Are the seniors happy? How are they treated? Be sure to also talk to the management, staff and caregivers as well. Ask the facility administrator for any references. Can they give you the contact information of some of the families they are currently serving or the ones they have served in the past?
4. Sense of Touch
When touring the assisted living facility, you might want to interact with the residents. A simple handshake or pat on the back can make the seniors happy. It can also give you an opportunity to take a closer look at the resident’s appearance and see if:
- Is the senior’s skin soft?
- Is the skin color normal?
- Does the senior have any bruises or skin conditions?
Not only is the sense of touch healthy, but it is also a powerful tool for communication.
5. Sense of Taste
The quality and taste of the food is very important when selecting an assisted living facility. In fact, today, one of the highest contributors to a senior’s satisfaction in an assisted living facility is the quality of food.
Most facilities offer potential residents a tasting menu. If it’s available, you should definitely try it in order for you to assess the quality of food offered to the residents. Also, don’t forget to consider the following:
- Does the food taste good?
- Is the food freshly cooked?
- Are the meals nutritionally balanced?
- Does the facility offer special food or a menu for special diets?
Ultimately, finding an assisted living facility that meets your loved one’s care needs and budget may take some time. However, all the effort going into the search will definitely be worth it. Just remember to keep in mind all of the assisted living search mistakes and tips provided so you can ensure you find the right assisted living for the senior in your life.
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Related Assisted Living Articles:
- What Is Assisted Living?
- Preparing Aging Parents For Assisted Living
- 7 Tips When Selecting An Assisted Living Facility
- Choosing The Right Assisted Living Facility
- Assisted Living Facility Checklist
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