Elderly care can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for families who attend to seniors suffering from the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. In such cases, sending your loved one to a care facility may be the better option.
In the United States, there are approximately 28,900 assisted living communities, which is equivalent to one million licensed beds, according to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCANCAL). Each of these facilities houses an average of 33 residents.
Deciding on the best elderly care for a loved one requires due diligence. If you're looking at assisted living communities to take charge, consider asking the following questions to help you make a more informed decision:
1. Are All Team Members Trained And Certified?
The key to ensuring that your loved one receives appropriate care is to determine whether the staff members are appropriately trained and certified. More importantly, find out the facility's fully licensed staff standards for your peace of mind. Seniors require different levels of care, and the assisted living facility of your choice must be capable of providing a range of services to meet specific requirements.
An actual visit can also confirm the information coming from the administration. While in the community, observe whether or not the staff are cordial to the residents and guests, and if they behave professionally. Ask about the number of staff and the residents, the company values, and how they handle health and other emergencies.
2. Is Assisted Living The Right Facility For My Loved One?
There are different specialized care facilities for seniors, depending on their needs. In selecting the best option, it's important to understand how each facility functions to fulfill patients’ needs. For instance, nursing homes work best for older people who need round-the-clock care.
Assisted living communities aim to provide personalized care to seniors in a residential setting. Residents in these facilities typically have no major health concerns. Still, they need assistance to perform daily activities, such as taking medications, doing the laundry, and preparing healthy meals. These centers also provide social activities and promote healthy living to keep their residents happy.
3. What Are The Amenities Available?
Besides human resources, available facilities are another essential consideration. Clients can be subjective in this aspect, but must remain mindful of their loved ones’ basic needs. For instance, others may need a recreational space, a lush garden, and a nearby hospital when residents need to be sent for health issues.
A lush garden may be necessary for residents who want to spend time outdoors, or ample parking and visitation areas to interact with their families. While visiting a facility, you must also check the foods served and the various dietary options. Also, take time to know how the staff handles issues, complaints, and emergencies. More importantly, it helps to know the state-mandated standard amenities, or whether the facility complies with these regulations.
4. Are There Routine Activities?
While facilities have to meet specific regulatory standards in terms of their amenities, they may be allowed to offer different types of activities. Besides looking at a sample monthly program, you can ask about meal times, exercise routines that boost elderly health, family days, annual talent shows, and other present and future social activities.
Furthermore, don't forget about mentally engaging activities to help combat neurodegenerative diseases and volunteer activities that reignite a senior resident's sense of purpose. In addition, always ask about the roles families should play in making assisted living care less challenging. Besides visitation schedules, ask if you can help organize or participate in volunteer and social activities.
5. Can I Afford It?
The most critical question is whether you and your family can afford to send a parent to an assisted living community. Prices vary from state to state, as well as the types of services a resident needs.
When assessing financial viability, ask the facility for the services included in the lowest, middle, and highest tiers. Determine the frequency of increases and other charges. In preparing for the worst, ask what happens if the family can no longer afford payments.
Ideally, preparing for this stage must be done several years past to avoid financing issues in the future. If you need an emergency boost, check whether you qualify for Medicaid assistance, and calculate your loved one's retirement benefits and pension payments.
Choosing the appropriate assisted living facility for your elderly loved one can be daunting. But, you'll have fewer challenges making the right choice if you know the right questions to ask and the critical issues to observe during a visit, most of which are discussed in this article.
Author: Teresa Smith
Teresa Smith is a writer, editor, and contributor for several local publications. She is an active member of her community, often volunteering at block parties and their HOA. Teresa is a loving grandma to four young girls.