Updated: December 16, 2019 by Catharine D. Allado
Assisted living is often the best choice for your loved ones who do not have any serious medical conditions. Assisted Living facilities allow seniors to maintain as much independence and privacy as possible, while also ensuring that seniors receive the level of care they need. However, things do not always go as planned, and problems in assisted living facilities can arise. When assisted living issues happen, you must act quickly to correct the situation and know how to handle the type of problem that occurs.
In This Assisted Living Article:
Since you cannot be at the assisted living facility all of the time, your aging loved one is likely one of the best sources of information regarding potential problems. He or she may directly tell you about issues they are having, but you may also need to look for clues, such as:
- Weight loss
- Signs of neglect or abuse
- Mental decline
If you suspect a problem, you may have to ask your senior loved one direct questions in order for him or her to open up to talk about the assisted living issue. If they fear a backlash from a staff member, it may be even more difficult to encourage them to speak up. In this case, it is important to reassure your aging loved one that you will do your best to resolve the issue.
If your loved one is experiencing some of the more common problems with assisted living facilities, such as boredom, loneliness or difficulty adjusting, there are simple steps you can take to help.
If your parent or friend is bored, inactive or lonely, you can help by:
- Visiting more often while your loved one adjusts to the new environment.
- Taking senior on outings to visit old friends or favorite places
- Helping overcome shyness by going with your loved one to a scheduled activity
- Encouraging him or her to take part in social activities in the assisted living community
- Participating in different activities with them to help them get used to the new routine and environment Pointing out the positive aspects of the new living situation.
Neglect, abuse, problems with other residents and issues with staff members in the assisted living facility can quickly escalate into a serious or even a dangerous situation. Therefore, it is imperative that the senior’s friends or family members are prepared to step in as advocates right away when potentially threatening problems arise.
If there are signs of neglect or abuse from staff members or potentially serious issues with other residents, the situation must be investigated immediately. Contact the assisted living facility administrator with your concerns, and request that your loved one is moved away from the problem resident or assigned a new caregiver during the investigation.
If you do not receive prompt, cooperative assistance in getting to the bottom of a potential issue, consider contacting a local long-term care ombudsman, filing a complaint or, if necessary, relocating your loved one to a new facility. During the investigation, you should also make unannounced, frequent visits to check in on your loved one.
To avoid problems with assisted living facilities in the future, take time to carefully research assisted living options and ensure that you choose a well-respected facility that has a good reputation. Once your aging loved one has moved in, be sure to keep lines of communication open with your senior loved one as well as caregivers and facility administrators to ensure that you are informed of potential issues early on. Remember, communication is key!
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