De-mystifying the Hunt For Assisted Living: When and How to Choose the Right Facility
Staying in your own home and “aging in place” is what every person wants. But sometimes that is just not possible. If an increase in assistance and/or care becomes necessary, considering an assisted living facility is a practical thing to do. It is also one of the most critical decisions you may have to make for yourself or a loved one. That said, where do you start? How do you know if it is the right time, and how do you choose?
Some of the key signs that assisted living may be an excellent choice for a loved one involve many Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):
- Difficulty remembering which medications to take and when
- An increase in the number of falls, whether resulting in injuries or not
- Personal hygiene is no longer appropriate, and the person is unaware
- Inability to manage finances
- Independent toileting has become a problem
- House is increasingly cluttered and dirty
- Isolation from family and friends due to increased difficulty in getting out and around
- Animals are no longer well cared for
- Safety concerns in the kitchen due to forgetfulness or absentmindedness
- Driving is increasingly unsafe
- Inability of family members to continue to manage their care
Assisted living can also be a choice because of loneliness and wishing to be part of a larger community, where there is more companionship and more activities offered than when living in a home alone. One may still be able to manage all of the above, but it is more challenging, and they would prefer a lifestyle that eases up their responsibilities.
When choosing a quality assisted living facility, there are some basic guidelines that can help you identify good choices:
1. Start by asking your primary care provider, social worker, care manager or discharge planner.
2. Compile a list of facilities in the geographic location that is best for you and your family.
3. Look online at their profiles and see what appeals to you.
4. Make appointments with at least four facilities for a comprehensive tour and interview.
5. Compile a list of questions that you feel are important, including those pertaining to the medical background of the person to be placed.
At Prism Health Advocates, we specialize in identifying the best assisted living homes for your loved one. We do the research and groundwork, narrowing the field, and offering you a carefully selected group of the best options in your ideal location. Our staff is clinically trained and experienced, so their research for you is guided by a trained eye. You then can step in, do the visits and personally decide what works best for your family, and we will provide guidance throughout the process.
When visiting those facilities, here are some of the main criteria to keep in mind:
- Level of cleanliness and smell – is the hygiene of the place up to par?
- Dress and demeanor of staff – are they clean and neat, cheerful and welcoming? How friendly are they, and how do they interact with the current residents? Are they gentle and kind?
- Availability of nurses and a doctor on staff.
- Safety and security – how are the residents protected from outside threats? Are bathrooms easily accessible with grab bars and call bells? How easy is it for a resident to call for help if there is an emergency within the facility?
- Quality of food – is it fresh and healthy? Can they meet individual diet restrictions and is it accessible around the clock or only at certain hours?
- Can they offer a level of care commensurate with your loved one’s needs?
- What activities are offered and how often? Are residents offered outside activities?
- Do they have any state violations?
It is important to understand that making a decision to place a loved one in an assisted living care is not a sign of neglect, lack of love, or failure. Family members and friends are simply unable to care for that person to the degree with which they now need.
Finding a professional solution to the very real human struggle of aging and physical decline is fraught with emotion and worry. However, if viewed through a lens of practicality, it can better the quality of life of the one becoming a resident in an assisted living community as well as their loved ones.
If you and or a loved one is trying to determine whether moving to assisted living is the right choice, Prism Health Advocates can assist you through the entire process. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation today.