Placing yourself or a family member in a senior living facility isn’t an easy decision to make. It involves being honest and clear about your own capabilities, the needs of you or your loved one and how the two match up. Once you reach that decision, however, the work does not stop there.
The next step is to research various facilities where you or your relative might stay and determine which one will best serve the needs that will or could arise. You may wonder what to do or look for when conducting this search.
Here, then, are a few things to pay attention to when trying to find the right senior living facility.
Appearance and Design
When you reach a given facility take a look around and determine:
- How do its surroundings look to you?
- Do you feel safe being there?
- How about the outside of the facility itself?
- Does it look clean and respectable or dirty and shoddy?
When you step inside, look around for:
- Would you or your relative feel comfortable in this environment?
- Does the staff give you a warm welcome?
- Is the staff courteous and friendly with the residents?
- Are the residents courteous and friendly with each other?
- And of course, is everyone courteous and friendly with you?
- Do you feel that you could live comfortably with them?
In addition to its appearance, consider its design. Is it well-lit? Are the floors slippery? Can people move around in wheelchairs and walkers without risk of injury? Suppose that you can’t take the stairs: are there accessible elevators? Is it suitably warm or cool? These are all good questions to ask when checking out a senior living facility.
Cost vs. Care
For most people, the question of whether or not they can afford a facility will inevitably arise. However, remember to keep in mind not only what a place costs but what those costs get you. Does the facility clearly lay out all of its available services and expenses? Will these services cover all of the needs of you or your relative? Are there programs available to help cover the costs of services? Is the staff available twenty-four hours, and do they have the knowledge and training to handle any needs or emergencies that might arise? If you have a complaint, is there someone whom you can speak to?
Quality of Life
Think about the day-to-day activities as well. What’s the food like? What kind of events does the facility schedule? What kinds of reading material are available? What kinds of community events can the residents participate in? Do members of the community come by and help out with different programs?
Talk with both staff and residents. Get a variety of perspectives on what it’s like to live and work at the facility you’re looking at. If they like it, so might you. But be aware of the sales pitches that can accompany many of these tours. You need to be able to differentiate between legitimate observations and those that are planted by the facility guides, whose job it is to get you to sign the dotted line.
It can take a lot of work to find the right senior living facility, but it will be worth it in the long run. Thorough research will allow you to make the best choice for yourself or your loved one.
Sarah Jennings currently writes for Brookdale assisted living. She uses her personal experience to share with others about caring for the elderly. She has been taking care of others her whole life.