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Choosing the Right Senior Living


Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community or Residential Care Home is one of the most important, yet difficult decisions you have to make for your loved one. There can be ten to hundreds of assisted living facilities in nearby and being able to identify which is the best fit your loved one is not easy. What you need is the ability to easily find care facilities that are a match with your loved one’s care needs, budget, and location. Then you can narrow doing your options and choose the right assisted living for your loved one.


In This Article:

Essential Tips – Choosing the Right Assisted Living

Know The Facts – Elder Abuse Statistics

Be Prepared – Keep Your Loved One Safe


How to Choose the Right Assisted Living Community or Care Home


1. Understand The Your Loved One’s Needs

It is very important to understand and determine the daily needs of your your Loved One so that you can find the right care facility that can meet those requirements. Having a good understanding of your Loved One’s level of independence will help you find the right home that can provide the required level of care. 


Questions to Ask – Does your Loved One need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)? Do they need help with dressing themselves, taking a shower, going to the bathroom, preparing meals, taking their medications, etc.?


2. Know Your Options

Get at least 2 or 3 care options to compare and consider what you liked the most and liked the least. Are they a match for your 1) Location 2) Budget and 3) Care needs? If so, keep in mind that good care homes and communities stay full with no vacancies. When they do have one available, due to their popularity and reputation, they fill their opening up very quickly.


The tricky part is lining up when a good care home has an availability and the timing when your Loved One is in need of care. If you already toured facilities but your Loved One is not ready, it might be a good idea to see if you can go on the care facilities’ wait lists. 


Choosing the right assisted living facility can be made easier with the help of an Expert Care Advisor at a Placement Agency. They can find you matches based on care needs, budget an location. These agencies offer options at no charge and it only a few minutes to save you a lot of time and headache.


3. Tour More Than One Care Facility

It’s probably a good idea to make appointments with a few assisted living facilities so you can compare the pros and cons of each and decide which is the best fit for your loved one. When you arrive, the care home or care facility will have its best foot forward, so ensure to take your time and be thorough when you visit. 


If you need some reminders, you can print and take this Touring Checklist with you in order to ensure you don’t miss anything.



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4. Ask the Right Questions

Being prepared with the right questions to ask is key in ensuring your Loved One’s health and happiness in their new home. Getting a better understanding on the services, programs and processes of the care facility will allow you to determine if the place is a good fit or not.


Example Questions: 

  • What is the ratio of caregivers to residents in the senior care home?
  • Do they background check all of their employees (not just those in direct contact with residents)?
  • Can they meet your aging loved one’s specific care needs?
  • Do they provide ongoing training and monitoring to ensure their staff behaves appropriately?
  • What are the requirements for being hired to provide care to their residents?
  • Do they have any safety guidelines for caregivers?
  • More Sample Questions



5. Be Thorough When Touring

Visit each Assisted Living facility during an active time of day.

 Schedule a tour when there is an activity or event in the assisted living community. It will be ideal if you and your loved one can participate in the program. This will give you a chance to observe how the residents and staff members interact with each other. Be sure to observe the following: Are the staff members friendly and attentive? Are the residents enjoying themselves and connecting with others?


Also, be sure to check the activities calendar. This should be posted on the facility’s website. If you can’t find it, ask the community director or any of the staff members for a copy. It’s important that you find an assisted living that offers activities that your senior loved one would enjoy for socialization and stimulation purposes.


When you arrive at the assisted living community or residential care homes, make sure you inspect the facility thoroughly noting any great things about it or any red flags. Do you feel welcomed the moment you step in the door of the community or care home?


Are their licensing certificates displayed or do they have photos of the residents at celebrations? Do they visibly display their food menu or schedule of activities? Are the residents just sleeping in their room during the day or are they staying active? Do the bathrooms and inside the refrigerators clean? Do you get the feeling it looks like the community or care home pays attention to detail?


Keep your ears and nose open for noise levels and cleanliness.

When touring, observe the surroundings. Is the community clean? How about the smell? Do you smell anything bad? An odor may have been caused by a recent, isolated incident, but a persistent odor is definitely a red flag. This means that if there is an unpleasant odor, the facility is not being properly maintained or the caregivers are not providing the care that the residents deserve.


It would be good to ask about the services they provide like laundry and housekeeping services. Are these services included in the cost or do they charge extra fees for these services?


These are all very important questions you should be asking when you tour each care facility and will make choosing the right assisted living facility much easier.



6. Talk to the Residents

Are they sociable? How do they residents interact with one another? Do they look well groomed? Are they happy? Are their alert levels similar to that of your Loved One? In case the residents are not alert, it does not mean the care facility is a bad home. It could mean that the particular home or community specializes in dementia residents. Make sure to find out from the staff and owner the condition of the residents before you tour to help save you time. 


Make sure you talk to the residents and try to determine if they would get along with your Loved One.



7. Talk to the Owner and the Caregivers

Ask to be introduced to the assisted living manager or administrator so you can ask her questions about the facility. Does the Owner and Caregivers seem friendly and welcoming? Do they rush you off or take time to ask you the questions to understand your Loved One’s needs?


Talk to the caregivers and staff members. How do the staff and caregivers interact with the residents? Do they seem like they care? Do they seem caring and friendly? Do they talk to the residents in a respectful way? Remember, the manager or the administrator will be your main contact for any issues so be sure that she is knowledgeable and passionate about her job. Observe them and take notes.


A facility with skilled and caring staff members will most likely be more equipped in providing a safer and more enjoyable environment for your loved one.



8. Try the Food

Who doesn’t love good food? We all do, right? Eating a delicious, healthy and well-balanced meal is very important, especially for seniors. Most assisted living communities offer potential residents and their families a free meal after they tour. Be sure to take advantage of this offer so you and your loved one can try their food. Take some time to engage with some of the current residents during mealtime, if you can. Ask them for their opinions about the community and of course about the food. We often overlook, how important the meal choices are to the elderly. Keep in mind that food is usually a priority for them and food can impact the quality of your loved ones assisted living experience.



9. Evaluate the Safety and Security Measures

Placing your loved one in a safe and secure environment is crucial when choosing an assisted living place. Walking around the outdoor areas of the facility will give you a good idea if the community feels safe or not. This will also give you a chance to see what kind of security measures they have in place.


Go a step further and ask a few questions about their security and safety protocols. A good assisted living facility will provide an emergency plan and hold quarterly safety drills with their residents and staff members. Check the surroundings. Do they have grab bars next to the toilet and showers? Did they provide rubber mats and shower chairs? How about lighting, do they have night-lights in hallways and bathrooms? Ask about the resident-caregiver ratio. Is there sufficient staff at any given time of day? Ask what kind of staff they have. Do they have registered nurses on site or on call?


Taking the time to assess the level of safety and security of an assisted living is very important to give you peace of mind.



10. Ask About the Caregiving Procedures

Part of moving into an assisted living facility means that your loved one will start depending on different people to help them take care of themselves. Personal care is one of the most vital aspects of giving your loved one a good quality of life. It is important that you consider the short-term and long-term care needs. Be sure that the community can provide the care needs your loved one will require as the level of care increases. Thus, avoiding another move in the future.


Ask the staff about their procedures, such as bathing options, and be sure to observe the current residents. Do they appear well groomed? Have they been dressed correctly and appropriately for the time of year? Does it seem like the staff members treat them with dignity and respect? Do they go the extra mile to make them feel good? Personal care is another important part in selecting the best assisted living facility because health and hygiene go hand in hand.



11. Plan Ahead Financially

Be sure to you review the Contract thoroughly, especially the financial part. It is important that you are aware of  all the costs involved, including community fees as well as the annual rate increases so you can plan ahead financially. Per Genworth Financial (Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2004-2020), the average annual increase for Assisted Living in the U.S is 3.8%. Ask the Community Director about the Annual Rate Increase as well as their policy for any increase in care charges to avoid any surprises. 


You may want to have a lawyer review the documents before signing the contract. If you need additional assistance, you may also want to consult with the local placement agency or a social worker to help you in making the Assisted Living best decision. 



12. Get All the Facts

Check on the Facility’s Licensing Records and get testimonials from the other residents’ families that are staying there now or that have stayed there in the past. Check with the neighbors to see if there have been any reported problems inside or outside of the assisted living facility. You can even check with your local ombudsman to find out if there have been any problems at the particular facility.


If you want a thorough report, a great place to start checking on the care facility is with State Licensing. Each care home and community is licensed by the State and they keep on file all of the write-ups or citations each facility has received since it opened. 


Minor citations are common such as administration write-ups. However, major citations noted by the State inspector are something worth learning more about in detail. If a care facility has a major citation, it is worth getting more information from the State and even bringing it to the attention of the care homeowner or management staff for an explanation.


Also, see how they rate online. Do your research and check reviews and ratings for the facilities you are considering. Be sure to also check their Better Business Bureau rating and look for complaints (or compliments) from the residents or their families. Taking all of these proper steps will definitely help in choosing the right assisted living community.



13. Time is Your Friend

The more time you have to research about available assisted living facilities in your area, the better it is for you and your Loved One. As mentioned earlier, vacancies at the good care homes or communities can change at a moments notice. When you are ready to move your Loved One, give the assisted living facility a 2-3 week notice in advance. Should your top preferred facilities not have a vacancy when you are ready for the transition, a care expert advisor can help you find lots of possible matches in your area.



14. Conclusion and Summary

Choosing the right assisted living facility is important in order to avoid moving your Loved One from one care facility to another. This can be very difficult for your Loved One and put them under a lot of stress moving from place to place.


The initial move to an assisted living care home or community is already going to be a big adjustment so you want to make sure that you choose carefully. Stick to these tips to help increase your chances of success in finding the right home.



Additional Information


Elder Abuse Statistics

In a 2004 study, the National Center on Elder Abuse found that women, who were the victims in 67% of reported elder abuse cases that year, were much more likely to suffer from elder abuse than their male counterparts. This study also showed that substantiated reports of elder abuse had increased by 16% since their 2000 survey. A report released in 2006 by the same organization noted that:


  • 20% of elder abuse cases involved caregiver neglect
  • 15% involved financial abuse
  • 15% involved verbal, psychological or emotional abuse
  • 11% involved physical abuse


These statistics show just how serious elder abuse is. With elder abuse on the rise, finding a good senior care home for your aging loved one is very important.



Keeping Your Senior Loved One is Safe

You do not want your loved one to become a victim of elder abuse, so do your research and have ample time in making the best decision possible for them. Being a victim of abuse or neglect can cause physical and emotional harm to seniors, and can even lead to death. This is particularly true with seniors who are less equipped to defend themselves or unable to express their feelings of what is happening to them.


Keeping these 5 tips in mind will assist you in choosing a good and safe home for your loved one. There is no better feeling than knowing that your parent will not be a victim of elder abuse or neglect and will be given the level of care and attention he or she needs. Thus, giving you peace of mind.



Note: We hope you found this article helpful. If you did find it helpful, please don’t forget to share it, post it in Facebook, Tweet it, or eMail it to your friends and Love Ones so they can learn more and benefit from it. Thank you again for visiting SeniorCareHomes.Com


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We can guide you through all of your options so you can make the best decision for your Loved One.

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