Who Benefits from Assisted Living?
Over a million Americans enjoy the benefits of assisted living as a means to stay active and maintain a degree of independence to increase the quality of life. The purpose of assisted living is to help seniors with certain daily activities, as well as helping seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Choosing an assisted living facility can be one of the most important decisions you make in you later adult life. There are many factors to weigh in when selecting an option for your senior care, and it can be hard to think of everything when researching and asking your questions. Here is a helpful checklist of components to review when choosing assisted living to be sure you are getting the care you personally need.
Did the facility make a good first impression? √
What did your gut instinct tell you when you first came in to visit? It may be important to weigh in the feeling or vibe you got as you walked into the assisted living facility. Did the place look clean—was the staff friendly?
How much care/support is available at all times? √
It is fairly standard now for assisted living facilities to offer 24/7 availability for care and support. So if a facility offers anything less, seek elsewhere.
Is it in your price range / budget? √
Is the assisted living facility in your price range, or does it at least offer a tier of service that you can afford and still meets your needs? Bigger isn’t always necessarily better, and you may not need all the services offered on the higher price tier options.
Are the basic services provided what you need? √
Carefully review all the amenities and services available from each of your prospective assisted living options. The most common services offered to senior care residents are dining services, housekeeping, laundry, recreational activities, and sometimes transportation as well. Look to see what additional services may be offered beyond those basics, such as continence assistance, physical therapy, medications, etc.
Does the facility have a good reputation? √
All assisted living facilities are subject to regulation, inspection, and rating by government agencies. Be sure to check the reputation of any prospective assisted living facility, not only if they meet the bare minimum standards of the government, but also check testimonials from real residents. This information is made available online. If an assisted living facility does not even have a quality web site, that may be a red flag as well.
Is the facility in a good location? √
It is imperative to make sure a prospective facility is located in a good neighborhood, so a resident may feel safe. Also check to see if an assisted living facility is conveniently located near places you may want to visit frequently, like a grocery store, theater, or your family’s home. This may not matter as much if your facility offers good transportation services; but proximity can be a factor in your having access to the commodities you need or being visited as much as you would like.
How’s the view / ambiance? √
It is important to some seniors to have a great view or live in an aesthetically pleasing environment. Look around and investigate if an assisted living facility is well kept with a soothing, organized layout. Is there a garden? Does the place feel warm and inviting? If ambiance matters to you, be sure to ask these questions.
Is the floor plan easy to follow? √
Apart from pretty scenery, check if the floor plan is easy to follow and if hallways and ramps are conducive to seniors with mobility needs. Is there appropriate signage? Many seniors with cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s may get lost in a place with a confusing floor plan.
Is the food good? √
The dining plan may be one of the most important factors. Food brings joy and flavor to life. Be sure to ask the staff what food plans are available, and ask around to get a second opinion of the cuisine quality from online testimonials.
What comes with the room? √
Does the facility offer amenities for television? Are there private bathrooms? Do rooms come with conveniences like mini-fridges?
What is allowed to be brought in (furniture/pets?) √
Make sure you find out whether you may bring in your own furniture or a pet before checking in. Evaluate the space ahead of time so you can have an idea of which of your personal belongings will fit in your assisted living facility.
What is the activity schedule? √
Research what the opportunities are for activities, recreation, socializing with other residents. It can quickly be boring at a place where there is nothing to do and no one to talk to and no way of getting to know each other.
Does the facility take feedback/complaints seriously? √
Find out how easy is it for residents to leave feedback, make complaints, or be heard by the management. Make sure there is an efficient process in place for evaluating and addressing the unique needs of residents as they arise.
Does the facility feel safe? √
Make a note of whether there are locks on the doors, alarms, or 24-hour response system alerts in rooms to call the staff for emergencies? Does the facility do background checks on employees? This will add to your peace of mind and help you feel like you are truly cared for.