Choosing An Assisted Living Home
Most assisted living homes are well run and treat their residents as they should, although there are cases of abuse and neglect, making it important to choose the ideal facility. And it can be costly placing a loved one in an assisted living home, although cost should not be the only factor.
Most homes welcome visitors and prospective residents, and your first step should be to visit a couple of potential homes. When visiting, try to talk to as many staff members and residents as possible; that can give you a good feel for how the place is run, and whether residents and staff seem happy. A resident to staff ratio of five or less is ideal; it generally means that everyone is receiving the attention and support they need. You should also ask the facility how far away the nearest hospital is, whether they have a doctor or nurse on call, and in general what their procedure is in case of a medical emergency.
Other things to look for when touring an assisted living home is the general attitude and disposition of the staff, the variety of meals offered, and the opportunities for recreation, outings and socializing. A facility that’s well run will be clean and inviting, with no unpleasant odors or mustiness which could indicate a lack of proper cleaning or medical care. Most assisted living places have a full schedule of outings to the local store, restaurant visits, social evenings, arts and crafts, bingo and other pursuits, although some are simply better than others.
Unfortunately, many rooms in assisted living homes are shared, and the luxury of a single room typically costs more. Look at the size of the room, the amount of furniture and whether you can bring any of your own. Some places allow pets, while others don’t and if that’s something that’s important, it should be verified. It’s also worth asking about the financial side of things, including finding out how often the bill is due, how it’s paid and whether the home accepts any type of insurance.
Of course, you’ll want to visit your loved one in the assisted living home, and the rules and guidelines concerning visits should be verified. Most facilities allow family members and friends to visit as and when they want to; you may have to sign yourself in and out or advise the front desk you are there. And convenience is a factor too, especially if you see yourself visiting a family member several times a week, and being able to get there easily from home or work is a plus.
It’s never an easy decision to place a family member in an assisted living home, and if you find yourself in that situation, it’s well worth taking the time to find the best possible choice. And remember, ultimately it’s the decision of the person who is actually going to live in that home, although input form other family members can be invaluable and can help to make the decision.