Now that you and your parents have decided to start checking out assisted living facilities, you need to know what to look for. Every facility will have its good points and all of them will try to sell theirs as the best and most affordable. Our best piece of advice is – look beneath the surface.
Look Beneath the Surface
Just like rocks in a garden and dust balls under your bed, there could be a lot of things hidden just below the surface when you tour assisted living facilities. Don’t make the mistake of judging a place by the outside. Always take a close look at each facility.
Also remember that most assisted living facilities charge based on a scale. The more care your loved one needs the more it will cost. Make sure to be up front about the amount of care that you need and ask how much additional care will tack on to your base costs. Take a close look at the assisted living amenities to get a better idea of what life is really like at each facility.
Main Features and Assisted Living Amenities to Compare
You have the reasonable expectation that whatever assisted living facility you tour will have an emergency sound system, wellness programs, on-site security, medical professionals, housekeeping, etc. If any facility you visit doesn’t have any of one of those things, you should keep looking.
Beyond the basics you want to try to get a total feel for how it will be for your loved one when you are not around. Make several visits including a few surprise visits on off days to make sure you didn’t just catch them on a good day. Here are other things to compare.
The Area or Neighborhood
Does the facility look dark and depressing when you pull up or is it warm and inviting? What about the neighborhood surrounding the nursing home, is it busy with traffic? Is it in a high crime area? Are the grounds well lit?
Is the cleaning staff rude and distant? Keep your eyes open as you tour cafeterias and activity rooms and take note of how the staff interacts with the residents. Are they patient? Are they helpful? Do they seem to genuinely care?
What about the mix of residents? Are there plenty of residents close to your loved ones age or capacity? Think about the types of people your parents have always liked to be around and try to find a group that they feel comfortable with.
Some facilities have double rooms like hospitals while others like Unlimited Care Cottages provide an entire private living quarters for residents. Is the room bright enough with natural light? Is it a room that you would feel comfortable in? Investigate the floors and the toilets in common areas.
The Meal Plan
How your prospective assisted living facility prepares and presents the food is very important. Residents should get three meals a day and the food should be fresh. Make sure to ask your tour guide detailed questions about special diets or preferences that your loved one has and whether or not they can be accommodated.
Finally of course, if the floors are sticky and the carpets are old and stained, you already know it’s a bad place. Investigate the entire facilities inside and out to make sure that you are not just seeing the “nice” parts.
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