Not every assisted living facility will be right for your loved one for different reasons. On the other hand, some facilities have multiple problems that aren’t immediately apparent but can cause trouble for your loved one later on. In your search, the best thing you can do is train yourself to watch out for red flags in assisted living communities.
Assisted Living Red Flags
Not every problem is an immediate cause for concern, and not every red flag means you should immediately cross a particular facility off your list. However, a particularly concerning red flag could indicate a deeper problem below the surface. Be on the lookout for these problems:
- Inadequate staff members or training
- Dirty rooms or halls
- Unreasonable restrictions on visitation
- Lack of resident activity
- Bad reviews or history
- Reluctant to disclose costs
1) Inadequate Staff Members or Training
How many staff members are there per facility resident? If there seems to be a high disparity between the number of staff and residents, that could indicate that your loved one won’t receive all the attention and care they require. There should always be enough staff to ensure that no individual is spread too thin.
On a similar note, how knowledgable and professional are the facility staff? How do they treat you, your loved one, and the current residents? Ensure they conduct themselves professionally and know how to care for their elderly residents.
Pro Tip: If you can, ask the residents about their experiences. Do they find the staff friendly and professional?
2) Dirty Rooms or Halls
A room that is less than perfectly clean or another minor issue is to be expected from an assisted living facility where the residents are active. However, messy rooms and hallways everywhere or layers of dirt that have been left alone too long indicate a problem. Look for warning signs that cleaning isn’t taken seriously.
3) Unreasonable Restrictions on Visitation
No assisted living community will allow visitors at any time of day or night. Mealtimes, scheduled activities, and certain events will likely only be open to residents and staff. However, a professional facility will recognize the importance of visiting hours for family members and not restrict them more than necessary. If a particular community barely permits visitation, consider that a major red flag.
4) Lack of Resident Activity
Does the facility seem unnaturally quiet during your tour? Are the residents all sitting around with nothing to do? Make sure the community you choose provides activities and get-together events for the residents. If they’re discouraged from freely moving around the grounds, look elsewhere.
5) Bad Reviews or History
Check their website and online reviews. Are their clients generally satisfied with their loved ones’ care? Has the facility been accused of problematic behavior in the past? One or two bad reviews are normal for most businesses, but a long list of negative feedback is a major red flag.
6) Reluctant to Disclose Costs
Even if an assisted living facility doesn’t advertise their costs immediately, they should be completely open to discussing monthly payments or additional expenses with you. If the staff are reluctant to do so, they could be hiding some less than honest business tactics below the surface. Don’t bother giving those facilities your money.
Choosing a Safe Place
A single red flag or isolated incident doesn’t necessarily mean a certain assisted living facility is a bad choice for your loved one. However, multiple recurring problems over a short period of time indicate deeper issues. Keep looking to find the perfect place for your loved one.