Finding the right senior care facility can be an emotional as well as time consuming process. When touring assisted living facilities and adult family homes you should be prepared with the right questions to make sure you’re choosing the best facility to meet your loved one’s needs.
- Assess the Personnel. You should ask about the ratio of staff to residents. Assisted living facilities should have 1 staff caregiver for every 8 residents, while adult family homes may have 1 staff member for 3 or 4. Determine the rate of staff turnover. If you find that the turnover rate for all staff is every few months, chances are the care will not be as good. Additionally, you should find out who your point of contact will be. Ask what their background is and how long they’ve been with the company, and if they are regularly available for calls or correspondence.
- Make sure the facility meets your loved one’s social needs. Consider who your loved one was before their diagnosis. Were they an introvert before, or did they enjoy attending social activities with others? Some facilities will help residents build connections with their neighbors. You can look at the activities calendar or meet with an activities coordinator to find out what is offered.
- Test out the meals. So often it all comes down to food. You can ask to try a meal, ask for a sample menu, and find out about rates for substitutions or special diet items. Ensuring that your loved one is well fed and happy about it will take a lot of work off your plate.
- Get a written document detailing extra fees. Most care facilities have a flat rate for entry, but they will tack on fees for additional care needs. Make sure you ask what they charge to support residents who need assistance with Activities of Daily Living or ADLs. You may want to consider what the costs will be down the road when your loved one needs increased care. Also, you can ask about costs for exiting the contract if a situation arises in which you need to move your loved one to a different level of care.
- Take a tour of a few apartments as well as the rest of the facility. If the facility has enough open apartments, they should be able to show you the different options. In all cases, bathrooms should be large enough to allow caregiver and wheelchair access, with a walk-in shower and grab bars. The rooms should have good lighting and space for storage. If there is a kitchen, make sure that safety precautions are taken care of such as auto shut off stoves.
Its worth it to take your time and visit a few different facilities to get a better understanding of what is offered. Even if it feels like you need to make a quick decision, it will pay off and save you time in the long run to do your research before you commit to a long-term living solution for your loved one.
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