As difficult as it’s likely be to persuade your loved ones that living in the family home is no longer in their best interest, the process will be much smoother if you can present an appealing alternative.
The following questionnaire will help you record your impressions and observations when you tour potential facilities. (You could alter this slightly for use in the initial screening of a community long distance and then refer back to it when the time comes to physically visit the community.)
1. Is the community clean & fresh? Look at baseboards, windows, and corners.
2. How often is housekeeping provided and what does it entail?
3. What does maintenance do? What is their typical turnaround time to a resident’s concern?
4. Ask to look in on the activities. Are they well attended? Do the participants seem to be having a good time? Does the staff look like they enjoy the activity, too?
5. Do they offer a calendar of events at this community and is there enough variety to interest Mom & Dad? Does this community have an Activities Director? (This helps to assure the community’s long term interest in the well being of their residents.)
6. Observe the way the staff interacts with the residents? Do they make eye contact and appear to be actively listening? Does it look like the resident feels liked and respected?
7. What is the staff to resident ratio? How many people look out for the residents? Does their management style blend nicely with what you and your folks expect? What is the staffing arrangement from daytime to nighttime and overnight? What levels of assisted living care are provided? Who manages the onsite nursing staff and what are the costs of the various levels of care? How often are assessments performed?
8. Smell the facility. If there is an unpleasant odor, investigate its cause before continuing the tour. Odors may indicate an overall lack of cleanliness or could be a recent occurrence and the person providing the tour should be able to address.
9. Dining is of great importance to seniors. Is the dining area large enough for the number of residents including space for walkers or wheelchairs?
10. What meal choices are available and what are the dining hours? Do residents from independent living and assisted living share a dining room or are they separated?
11. Are meals included in the monthly rent and if so, how many? If a resident can’t come to the dining room to eat can they have a meal delivered to their room? Is there a charge for this?
12. What are the options for laundry service? Does the resident (or their family) handle personal laundry and the facility handle linens? What is the cost and what is the procedure?
13. Safety is always an important consideration. Once you’ve settled on the housing configuration- a studio, one or two bedroom, for example, is the bathroom senior friendly? Are there grab bars for support conveniently situated, emergency pulls to alert management in case of an accident? From a safety standpoint, how does the community manage emergency preparedness and or evacuation procedures? What about the outdoor areas? Is there room to enjoy time outside; is gardening an available activity for the residents? Are the grounds secured?
14. Continuity is critical for your parents’ peace of mind. What is the procedure to transition from independent to assisted living if need be? Evaluate costs. How long has this facility been operating at the present site? Who is the parent company and are they for profit or non-profit? What other communities do they manage? How dedicated are they to the senior market – will they be here “tomorrow?”
15. As you are touring each community and making the recommended observations, look beyond the attractive gardens or architecture, to get a genuine feel for the place. Look hard at how the residents live and their level of interaction with the staff. Does it seem like they feel cared for and respected? Will your parents enjoy the amenities provided? Can you imagine your folks happy living here? In the end, it comes down to finding the very best community they can afford that will accommodate their changing needs. Trust yourself and your good intentions.
About the Author:
Terry Lynne Hale has over 30 years of sales, marketing, writing, research and training experience in a variety of industries. Terry’s experience sourcing and locating independent and assisted living for her parents was the beginning of her exploration into care giving and elder care issues. Subsequent assistance finding housing for loved ones of friends and family has cemented her interest in Boomer and Senior care. Terry is committed to getting the word out that it is possible – even preferable, to begin a search for this kind of housing via the Internet, thus her new position as Boomer Care Adviser for SilverCensus. With an invaluable resource like SilverCensus offering Free Placement Assistance for Home Care and Assisted Living, your efforts are streamlined, and you save time and money.
SilverCensus is an unbiased senior living and health services resource where consumers are educated on options, facilities & rights. Their services are completely free for seniors and their caregivers as well as Hospital Case Managers & Social Workers who are committed to proper discharge. Clients include assisted living residences, rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing homes, home health care agencies, HUD senior housing & independent living communities. They also provide VA Aid & Attendance assistance for qualified Veterans and their spouses. Their Care Managers are available at 888-776-1311 or through the web at: http://www.SilverCensus.com.