What to Look for in a Facility
Trying to find the right care facility for your senior can be an overwhelming and confusing process. Cost, level of care, and environment are just a few of the factors you need to take account when trying to find a new home for your senior. Knowing what to look for and knowing which questions to ask when visiting facilities can make the process easier for you.
The first step is knowing where to look. There are so many options out there that you can feel overwhelmed before you even get started. Here are a few ways to start to narrow down your search.
- Distance-Begin by looking in an area close to family and friends. It is easier for friends and family to visit a loved one if the facility is conveniently located.
- Referrals- Ask the people you know if they have any recommendations. Does your family physician or specialist have a facility they recommend? Have your friends had experience with different facilities? Hearing about experiences from others can help you decide what you want for your loved one.
- Medical Needs- What specific medical needs does your senior have? Do they have a special condition that requires special care? You want to make sure that the facility has experience and is capable of providing that care.
Once you begin your search and find a few facilities that you think fit the needs of your senior, there are some things you need to look for in the facility itself.
- Cleanliness- Is the facility well-kept? Does it appear clean and neat? If you can smell urine or if there is a strong deodorizer attempting to mask the smell of urine, this can be a red flag.
- Food- Pay attention to the food that is being served. Does it appear fresh, nutritious, and appetizing? If your loved one has special dietary needs, be sure to ask the facility how they accommodate those needs. Also take note of what kind of assistance is available during meals.
- Arrangement- This varies depending on the type of facility. Nursing homes tend to resemble medical facilities with centralized nursing stations, whereas residential care facilities have a more homely feel. Larger assisted living facilities tend to have apartment style living. When deciding on a facility, it is important to take your senior’s preference for living arrangement into consideration.
- Activities- Be sure to ask about the activities offered by the facility. Cognitive activities are important to maintaining your senior’s mental health, just like exercise is important to maintain their physical health. Also, ask if they take the residents out on weekly or monthly trips. These trips can be a fun opportunity for your senior to get out of the facility.
The quality of the staff and caregivers is a crucial factor when choosing a new home for your senior. It is important to get a feel for the staff and caregivers when you visit the facility. It can be hard to know what to look for, so here’s a short list to help you get started.
- Staffing- How many caregivers and staff members does the facility have? Do they have 24 hour awake staff? How many staff members and caregivers are there on weekdays, weekends, and in the evenings? What is the staff or caregiver turnover rate?
- Interaction with You- When you go to visit the facility take note of how the staff interact with you. If you are visiting a smaller facility, such as a residential care facility, you will most likely meet with the owner. Are they rude and trying to rush through the meeting? Or are they kind, friendly, and helpful? Do they want to discuss how they would handle your senior’s medications, health condition, and possible emergencies?
- Interactions with Residents- How does the staff interact with the current residents? Are they warm and kind? Do the residents appear happy and engaged with the caregivers? See if you can observe a meal. Are the caregivers there to assist those who need help with eating and mobility?
Even with these tips, finding a home for your senior can be overwhelming and difficult. We at Senior Home Advocates are here to assist you with your search. Give us a call at (714) 793-0527 for your free consultation to learn how we can help you find the next home for your elderly loved one.