Once you and your parents have decided that an elder care facility is the right choice, the next step is choosing the best care possible. This can be quite a challenge, especially considering the variety of elder care facilities out there, from private care, to a fully-staffed nursing home. The task of deciding between the many different options can be overwhelming. As you approach the decision-making process, remember that it’s always better to allow your parents to assist with the decision. This will help to ensure an easy transition for your parents.
Determine Care Needs
The first step is to decide upon the type of home placement your parent needs. Begin by discussing different options with your parents, while maintaining a positive attitude. Your parent should always have some input and a degree of control regarding what they want in their own living arrangements. Working together to make the decision can help to remove some of the resistance your parent may be feeling.
Draw up a list of hygiene assistance, medical problems and daily living tasks that your parent may require help with; whether they need complete help or even just some minimal assistance. This will help to provide guidance regarding the level of assisted living your parent requires. It’s also a good idea to obtain advice from your parent’s doctor if you’re uncertain regarding the type of living arrangements that will best meet the needs of your parent.
Most retirement homes, assisted living facilities and retirement communities offer various levels of amenities and care. Some communities offer very little in regards to medical services, but instead focus on recreational opportunities and social activities. Other options may be modest but still provide a nursing staff, quality patient care and supervision.
Tour Each Facility
In deciding which facility will be best, make a point to tour each available option. This will help to provide you with firsthand information. Medical care should always be a top-priority along with lifestyle. There are also questions that should be asked before you decide upon any facility. The questions below can help to guide you in obtaining the information you need to make an educated decision regarding the best care for your parent.
- Observe other residents in the facility. Do they appear relaxed and calm? What is the general impression?
- Do residents appear clean?
- What stimulation is provided to residents beyond watching TV? Does the facility offer planned recreation and activities?
- Are residents allowed to make their own choices regarding their daily routine if they’re mentally capable of doing so?
- Are residents able to continue seeing their own personal doctors?
- Does the facility meet your parent’s religious and cultural needs?
- Can your parent bring their own furniture and personal items?
- How do staff members at the facility respond to residents?
- Does the staff behave in a professional manner? Are they helpful, compassionate and friendly?
- Is there a nurse on call at the facility?
- Are medical professionals on staff?
- What is the procedure for medical emergencies?
- Is the facility fully staffed on weekends and at nights?
- Does the staff regularly communicate with family members?
- Are all staff certified and licensed?
- Are background checks conducted on all staff and employees?
- Does the facility provide an abuse prevention training program for staff?
- Is the facility Medicare certified?
- What is the appearance of the facility, inside and out? Does it appear cheerful and well-maintained? Is there a smell?
- Is housekeeping provided?
- What type of security does the facility provide?
- Is it possible for anyone to leave or enter the facility as they please? Are there rules for residents leaving the facility?
- What is the waiting period for admission?
- How many beds are available?
- Has the facility had any lawsuits or complaints filed against it?
- How does the facility monitor for possible abuse?
- What are the visiting hours for the facility?
- Are exits marked clearly?
- Are accidents and spills cleaned up quickly?
- Are hallways and other areas well lit?
- Are sprinklers and smoke detectors installed throughout the facility?
Dining & Common Areas
- Are the common areas comfortable and pleasant?
- Is there an outdoor recreation area?
- Is the dining area clean?
- Are residents at the facility able to have some choice in their meals?
- Is help provided if residents are not able to eat on their own?
- What types of special dietary needs are offered?
- Is food served at the correct temperatures?
For many seniors the aging process means slowing down while others are able to maintain an enjoyable and active lifestyle. Selecting the right assisted living facility for your parent means developing an understanding of the level of care they need today, the types of activities they enjoy and recognizing that they may need advanced care in the future.
Asking the right questions and working with your parent can help you to locate the best solution possible for your parent’s care. An appropriate care facility need not be a luxury facility, but it should certainly meet some basic and specific requirements, including medical, safety, recreational and social. By taking the time to investigate different options and educate yourself about the level of care provided you can choose the highest quality of living possible for your parent while also ensuring peace of mind for your parent as well as the entire family.