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How To Choose The Right Assisted Living Facility

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Assisted living facilities are for people with cognitive decline or those with trouble managing their daily activities like feeding themselves, getting dressed, or bathing. If your loved one can’t perform two or more basic daily activities, they become candidates for assisted living.

Choosing an assisted living facility goes beyond just signing up and moving in. The choice should be carefully considered because this is where your loved ones will probably spend the rest of their lives. So, when the time comes, you have to consider pertinent things to help you make the right decisions.

Levels Of Care Provided By The Assisted Living Facility

Assisted living facilities offer varying levels of care which range from lower levels of care to memory care. Having an idea about the different levels of care provided in assisted living facilities will help you ask the right questions.

You should be able to know what level best suits your loved one so that their needs can be addressed adequately. For instance, a person who only needs assistance with mobility but can do other things independently will be suited for level 1 care.

On the other hand, those who need additional care because they have difficulty remembering things and can’t take care of themselves will be better placed in level 3 care.

Choosing a facility with different levels of care will ensure your loved one gets present and future support. There won’t be a need to transfer your loved one to a facility with a higher level of care, which might interfere with their well-being. A facility with different levels of care will allow your loved one to age in a familiar environment.

Cleanliness And Essential Features

You can’t know what a facility really looks like by viewing online pictures or through a virtual tour. You need to visit the facility in person to experience first-hand how it looks, smells, and feels.

When comparing assisted living facilities, observe the outdoor areas and entryways. A facility with a garden replete with trees, plants, and flowers along with seating places signifies a welcoming environment.

Also, be on the lookout for the following:

  • Safety features like grab bars and handrails
  • Accessibility features like stair lifts, wide doors, elevators, and wheelchair ramps
  • Décor with uplifting colors and comfortable furniture
  • Social areas like event halls, communal dining areas, and lounges
  • Cleanliness and upkeep in private and common areas and around the facility
  • The overall security of the premises 

Costs

The cost of assisted living is a significant factor that can’t be overlooked when making decisions. You’ll want to know what is included in the contractual agreement and what the extras will cost. Typically, the more complications your loved one has, the more you’ll pay.

For instance, a resident with memory issues and respiratory problems is likely to pay more than someone with mobility challenges. When shopping for a facility, find out what criteria they use to charge fees by asking the following questions:

  • Is their charging system tiered, a la carte, all-inclusive, or another method?
  • Does the contractual agreement disclose all fees, including admission and discharge?
  • Do they have a refund and transfer policy?
  • What services are included in the monthly fee? And what are the costs of the services that are not covered in the monthly payment?

An overview of a facility’s charging system will help you make decisions.

Available Activities For Residents

An assisted living facility is more than a place where residents live and are taken care of. A good facility should have amenities to cater to the residents’ spiritual, physical, social, and intellectual needs. These include places of worship, community entertainment area, garden, hair salon and barber shop, dining hall, swimming pool, gym, computer room, cafeteria, and library. Choose one that would be a good match for your loved one’s personality and hobbies.

Furthermore, find out about the facility’s pet policy. Is your loved one allowed to bring along their four-legged, furry companion? 

Staff-To-Resident Ratio 

You’ll only want to leave your loved one in a facility that will promote their quality of life and where they’ll be treated with dignity. That can only happen when there are enough staff members to take care of the residents in a facility.

The recommended staff-to-resident ratio in an assisted living facility is one staff to six residents. This ratio allows the staff to have a rapport with the residents and give them personalized attention.

When touring a facility, observe how the staff members interact with the residents.  A facility with staff who seem happy, relaxed, and enjoy their work is a sign that they’re treated well and not overworked.

Also, find out the following:

  • The number of staff on night duty and if they can meet the residents’ needs
  • If there’s at least one licensed vocational nurse, registered nurse, or certified nursing assistant in the facility round the clock in case of an emergency
  • Staff experience and turnover rate
  • Hospitals and hospices that the facility is affiliated with

Conclusion

Putting your loved one in the right assisted living facility will improve their quality of life when they can no longer live independently. A place with the right mix of activities, healthy meals, healthcare, and a welcoming community can help your loved one live a life of ease and comfort. If possible, involve your loved one in choosing a facility that best suits their personality.

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Current Issue June 2024

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