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Considerations When Choosing Assisted Living Facilities For A Loved One

When your loved ones start to reach a certain age, which can differ from person to person, then their ability to live independently can diminish. At this point, you may be considering options on how to ensure that their needs are met and their quality of life is preserved. One of the most common choices is to find an assisted living facility for them to live at. However, you want to make sure that they get more than the minimum level of care, so being picky is expected. But what should you be looking for when you choose an assisted living facility?

Look At The Standards Of The Facilities Themselves

You can learn a lot about the team that is running the facility by taking a look around the grounds and the building itself. Consider the cleanliness and condition of the areas that you visit. If things are looking run-down, poorly maintained, or in need of repair, then it’s entirely reasonable to think that the same level of care might be shown to your loved one. Consider any accessibility features that the premises might need, as well, to help your loved one get around. If they are in a wheelchair, you want to make sure that they are living in a place that has wheelchair ramps, and to look for other things like widened doors, elevators, and railings to help with transferring to bed or the toilet.

Take The Time To Get To Know The Staff

Arguably more important than anything the facilities can provide is that of the staff that runs it. You want to make sure that they’re able to provide the support that your loved one will need daily. As such, you should take some time to observe them in their duties (bearing in mind the privacy of those they are assisting). You should also ask what kind of training or accreditation for caring they might have. Another important question can be to ask about their staff-to-resident ratio to make sure that they have enough bodies on duty to see to the needs of your loved one every day.

The Finances Of It All

Of course, we all want to be able to get the absolute best for our loved ones. However, the reality of what we can afford can often come crashing into that. Look at your budget for how much you could afford to pay for your loved one’s care each year. Look at financial assistance such as Medicare, social security, and the like. For elderly family members with a disability, getting help with ALTCS or similar state-based kinds of assistance could help you afford a much better kind of long-term care for them. Do your research, know what you can apply for, and consider getting legal help when applying for financial assistance to ensure the best likelihood of qualifying.

The finances of it all
The finances of it all

Location Matters In More Ways Than One

Even when you have chosen a facility for your loved one, then you will still want to be a part of their life and present when you are needed, so choosing a facility that is close to you can help with that. However, you should also consider how the loved one knows or feels about that location. If it is near where they have spent most of their life, it could potentially lead to meeting with some old friends. If they have dementia or Alzheimers, then choosing locations that are familiar to them can help them feel more comfortable, as they may be able to recognize their surroundings better.

Size And Freedom To Move

It’s not just where it is that matters, but the size of the location can be important, as well. For instance, a smaller facility can be better for those who are more introverted, while one with more people can be much more preferential for those who are social and outgoing. Similarly, the size of the facility can determine how much freedom to move they have there, as well as the different areas that they can spend their time in. Are there places that they can get out and move around in, for instance? Are there large and open shared spaces where they can socialize with others? Even for the more introverted kind of people, socializing is vital as we get older, for our mental and cognitive health.

The Kind Of Therapy They Have On Offer

Most basic care facilities will offer the staff and amenities necessary to ensure that the basic needs of your loved ones are met. However, the good ones will do more than ensure their current standard of living, they will try to improve it. As such, you should take a look into the kinds of therapeutic activities and therapy services they might offer. This can include physiotherapy and fitness classes, art classes, group talking sessions, and hobbyist clubs. How much these matter will depend on the ability of your loved one to take part. You may also have to pay extra for some of these services so bear in mind how they might affect the affordability of the facility.

The kind of therapy they have on offer
The kind of therapy they have on offer

How Effectively Will They Take Care Of Their Needs In The Future?

The facility that you are visiting might be well prepared to take care of your loved one’s needs as they stand. However, it is often the case that an individual’s needs can change with time, and you want to make sure that you are choosing a facility that can take care of their long-term needs, not just their current needs. As such, you should check to see if they have options like additional health care provisions and medication management, as well as hospice services. Furthermore, they should have some manner of the assessment process to get to know a resident’s needs on a periodic basis, so they know when to change the kind of care they should be offering.

The choice of what kind of care you get for your loved one can be difficult. With the tips above, you can narrow your options, ensuring that your standards are met.

About The Authors

Katharine Tate

Katharine Tate - I’m a native of Massachusetts, where I earned bachelor's degrees in Health, Science, Society, and Policy and Sculpture from Brandeis University. I enjoy assisting and inspiring women in all aspects of their lives, and I consider myself a partner in their OB an GYN treatment. I particularly enjoy forming relationships with young women and assisting them in determining their healthcare needs and goals. I love to travel, create metal and fiber art, cook, and spend time outside. Also, I’m fluent in both German and American Sign Language.

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