An assisted living facility is a great option for seniors who want to maintain some independence, but who need the help and support of staff members in order to do so. Assisted living has become an increasingly popular choice for those seniors whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult for them to live on their own, yet who wish to avoid moving into a nursing home. Many people find that assisted living allows them more freedom than a traditional nursing home, but provides the peace of mind they need when there’s an emergency or illness. If you’re sold on the benefits of assisted living, here are 9 things to consider when you’re choosing an assisted living facility for your senior parents.
The Experience of The Staff Members
One of the most important things to look for in an assisted living facility is a staff that consists of dedicated, caring professionals. After all, they will be the ones overseeing your parent’s care on a daily basis. Their experiences and training matter when it comes to how well they are able to handle any situation that may arise. Also, make sure you like them because they will be your parents’ primary caregivers for as long as they live in the facility.
Remember that when it comes to staffing levels in assisted living facilities, bigger isn’t always better if you’re comparing one facility with another. Oftentimes the ones that have more residents than others do not provide adequate staffing levels for those residents. Before you consider a particular assisted living facility, find out what the resident-to-staff ratio is like.
Cost is a significant consideration when it comes to choosing an assisted living facility for your parents, especially if you will be footing the bill yourself. Some locations are cheaper than others; assisted living care in St. Louis is very affordable. Some types of living arrangements are more expensive than others, depending on your parent’s specific needs.
For example, those which offer special amenities like trips off-site or restaurant-style dining usually cost more than basic facilities that provide little in the way of social activities. Also keep in mind that some providers may pass along their costs by tacking on charges that may not be immediately obvious upon first inspection (for example, it’s not unheard of for some to charge extra costs just for putting your parent(s) in a semi-private room).
Always ask about the rates and find out whether they are monthly or one-time fees. Know exactly what is included and especially what is excluded, so you can get a true understanding of the facility’s value.
Where an assisted living facility is located can be important, depending on where your parents live now and how much assistance they will need on a daily basis (will transportation be required?). Many facilities offer free shuttles which take residents to places like grocery stores or local malls, but more assistance may require you to hire another service or have someone pick up or drop off family members on a regular basis.
Also take into consideration how accessible the facility is for those who don’t have a car or are unable to drive, as well as those who may be coming on their behalf (for example, you may want someone close by to assist with taking your parents to their doctor appointments).
Safety and Security
One of the most important things to look at when choosing an assisted living facility is how safe it is. After all, safety should always come first when it comes to caring for your elderly parents. Make sure that the facility has a secure perimeter consisting of fencing or locked doors; locks on rooms; security cameras throughout; and keycard entry systems.
Also check out what kind of security measures are in place for any valuables your parent may have, such as computers. These can be items that hold sentimental value to family members, but still need to be kept safely locked away when not in use.
When it comes to assisted living facilities, activity offerings vary depending on the location and size of each facility. Typically, most offer some sort of entertainment/social options every day (for example, group outings, game rooms, or even fitness programs). However, these will vary by the provider as well as by senior interest (for example, if your parents love the music they may want a certain style of entertainment; those interested in art may prefer something else).
If your parents are more interested in staying inside their rooms or keeping to themselves, then don’t go for a facility that is known for having a lot of social activities. Also consider what they enjoy doing and which kinds of entertainment make them happiest (for example, an avid reader will probably get more out of daily trips to the library than going out on outings every day).
Room Type Matters
When looking at assisted living facilities, you may have a specific idea in mind for what type of room your parents will live in (for example, garden-style apartments are very popular with seniors who want more independence). While it’s important to find out which rooms are available and how much they cost, it is also a good idea to talk to family members about the possibility of moving out. After all, no one wants to be limited when their circumstances change, and they don’t require as much assistance.
The kind of food a facility serves will vary depending on the type of assisted living they offer. Typically, most facilities are required to meet certain nutritional standards in order for them to receive and maintain accreditation.
However, if your parents have very specific dietary needs that can’t be met even with accommodations (for example, if they are gluten-free), then it may be best to look into facilities where those kinds of diets can be accommodated from the start. In addition, some meals may also include appetizers or desserts – which can help seniors who have trouble eating large portions at one time.
If your parents need around-the-clock assistance with basic physical needs (such as getting in and out of bed or using the restroom), then it’s important to look at what level of help they provide. For example, some facilities have a nurse available on-site 24 hours a day, while others only offer nursing assistance during specific time frames.
Assisted living facilities often provide limited medical services (such as blood pressure monitoring and simple medication management). If your parent(s) require more intense care, then a facility will have to refer them elsewhere. Make sure you understand the kind of medical care that will be available for residents before choosing a facility.
When choosing an assisted living facility for your elderly parents, you’ll want to consider several factors. Make sure that the facility provides a secure perimeter; has ample activity offerings; provides specific room types and sizes; offers food options (including snacks); and will have medical services available, when needed. Deciding on an assisted living facility can be a difficult decision for family members who want to make sure that their parents are treated with respect and given the best care possible. However, by identifying what matters most to your family (as well as understanding what is available in terms of those needs), you’ll be able to find an assisted living facility that meets everyone’s expectations and overall needs.