Deciding that your loved one may need to be placed in an assisted living facility can be a difficult decision. However, an assisted living facility can provide your loved one with a safe place where she can receive assistance from certified staff members for basic activities, such as bathing, household chores and attending medical appointments while also allowing her to keep her independence. Finding the right assisted living facility can be accomplished by looking for particular components.
Population of Residents
Some assisted living facilities are quite large and have hundreds of residents. While this type of residential facility can be helpful for new residents who are social and want to meet several new people, other residents can benefit from a more intimate setting. Families should also investigate the type of residents who currently live in the assisted living facility and inquire about the age and general health condition of the existing residents to validate whether the facility is a good match for your loved one. Be sure that you take a tour of the facility and see how residents interact with each other to assess the general culture of the facility.
Quality of Staff
The staff is one of the most important components to an assisted living facility. Ask the facility’s director about the level of education and experience that staff members have. Also, inquire about the type of license or certification that the staff members possess. You should also ask detailed questions about what type of services that the staff members provide so that you can ensure that your loved one will receive the type of care that he or she requires. Look at the way that staff members treat the residents on your tour. Look for aspects such as:
- Staff members take time to speak with you during the tour
- Staff members display an interest in the residents
- Staff members interact well with the residents
- Staff members are able to respond to emergencies if necessary
- Residents appear that they can freely communicate with staff members
- Residents seem to enjoy the facility
Safety should be a top priority for all families that are considering placing a loved one in an assisted living facility. Check to make sure that the assisted living facility’s quarters are appropriately equipped, such as having bathtub bars and wheelchair accessible entryways and ramps. You should also check if emergency measures are put in place, such as having emergency buttons that residents can push when they are in dire need of assistance and periodic check-ups on the residents. A doctor should also be available to make house calls for residents in need. You should also inquire about when your loved one’s condition would escalate to a level that would require alternate care and residency.
You want your loved one to easily transition into his or her new home. Choosing a facility with a complete list of activities and hobbies can help you accomplish this goal. Look for activities that are regularly scheduled, such as weekly card games or entertainment nights. Also look for activities that are more structured around individual hobbies, such as bird-watching or book clubs. These smaller settings can help your loved one forge new relationships with other residents.
If your loved one’s mobility is limited, it is important to choose an assisted living facility that has additional amenities that your loved one can use. Some amenities that you may want to look for include:
- swimming pool
- religious room
- rec center
- game room
- computer room
Also check on the quality and diversity of the food. Ask the staff how dietary restrictions and preferences are handled. You may want your loved one to eat in a cafeteria to socialize with other residents, but some residents will want to ensure that they can eat in their own room or have a kitchenette to prepare their own food.
Check that the facility is in compliance with all licensing requirements set forth by state and federal agencies. You can find this information by talking to the organization that provides licensing to facilities in your area and by checking the BBBB.