Have you ever visited someone in a nursing home or assisted living facility? If so, then you may have seen firsthand the various types of services and facilities for those people who needed help with their daily living activities. If not, then you may have heard all sorts of stories, both good and bad. Being the person who is in charge of choosing a facility for your loved one can be mentally and emotionally draining and often stressful. Hopefully, this blog will assist you in your journey as we talk about a few of the aspects.
Types of Facilities – There are many types of facilities in which your loved one can receive care ranging from senior developments to locked down memory care units. The two most discussed types of facilities are Assisted Living facilities and Nursing Homes. Assisted Living facilities provide a more home-like setting where residents are provided means, supervision, healthcare, assistance, coordinated activities and recreation. They are required to be licensed and are regulated by the state. A Nursing Home is primarily used for those who need skilled care and 24-hour supervision and assistance. The residents’ cases are usually more acute and complex and harder for the loved one to be cared for at home. The nursing home also provides meals and recreational activities. They are also required to be licensed and are regulated by the state. Other types of facilities exist and should be considered for your personal situation. You can find more examples of facility types here and here.
Things to look for – Your nose, eyes and sixth sense will be your best bet when evaluating a facility. Ask yourself these questions: Are there foul odors lurking? If so, from where? Is the facility clean to your standards? How do the residents look and seem? Are they happy and well cared for? Where are the residents congregated? Where are the employees? What is the demeanor of the employees? What kind of language and emotion do the employees use with the residents and with each other? Is there a daily or weekly schedule of activities or recreation for the residents? Are there comforting locations, scenery and items for the residents to feel at home and happy? What does your gut tell you? Would you feel confident leaving your parent there?
Questions to ask – Ask about everything you can. The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. You’ll want to be very specific about the questions you ask as it pertains to the type of care your loved one needs since each person is different. Ask about the staff, their credentials and backgrounds, especially the night staff. Ask about their communication standards and give specific examples of an issue and how they would handle it. Ask about their policies on honoring family requests. Ask about how they handle the death of a resident.
When to check in – When visiting before having selected a facility, be sure to plan your visits for when the management isn’t there in the evenings and on the weekend to see how the staff and resident’s behalf and look, in addition to during regular business hours. Once you have selected a facility and have your loved one enrolled, then make frequent unannounced visits on various days and at various times. You’ll want to make sure you’re looking for the same things as you did when evaluating the place beforehand, giving yourself an opportunity to see if the facility is remaining true to their first impressions and upholding their policies and procedures.
Choosing a facility is something that requires research, time and dedication. Just like most people wouldn’t leave their 12-week-old baby just anywhere, neither would most people leave their elderly loved one just anywhere. Not all facilities are created equal. For more insight and tips, consider reading the article found here and Linda Jenkins’ book “To Helen with Love, A Memoir of a Daughter’s Caregiving Journey.” Long term care situations vary greatly and good planning helps alleviate the stresses that often arise. Book your complementary consultation with one of our specialists now to talk about how planning can assist you and your family today!
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