Decisions to move into an assisted living facility are almost always hard ones to ask, and stumbling around in the dark will only make things worse on everyone. In situations like these, research will be your best friend. Keep the 5 very important factors below in mind, and the whole process will go much smoother.
1 Assess with Needs in Mind
The facilities you tour may have elevators, but do they also have features like walkways and doorways accessible for wheelchair and scooter alike? Is the apartment accessible to such a devices, should either the potential resident or visitors require one? One often overlooked feature is transportation provided by the facility. The lack of transportation to and from the outside world is often a major cause of distress. Fortunately this can be relieved somewhat if the facility is located within walking distance to attractions like shopping and coffee shops.
2. Safety, Safety, Safety.
Be sure to take note of any potentially concerning features that could put loved ones at risk, such as surfaces that would be easy to trip or slip on. In areas with problems such as these, features that would help in case of a fall or to help prevent one--such as railings in public bathrooms, would be of great benefit to the occupant's well-being. Another safety issue to ask faculty about is secure units for tenants with progressive diseases such as dementia. If they say that such tenants are unsupervised, or scattered about in the normal housing areas, then you may want to consider a different assisted living facility.
3. Friendliness of Staff
Do the staff interact with you and the others in a friendly and courteous manner? Are tenets treated with dignity and respect? Sadly this is one of the most neglected aspects on this list, despite being one of the most crucial. If the staff conducts itself in anything less than a professional manner—if you detect any hints of abuse or rudeness, then do not consider the place any further. Don't hesitate to report the facility and its staff to the proper authorities if there is blatant evidence of elderly abuse occurring behind the scenes.
4. Compare and Contrast the Experiences of Residents and their Family
Be sure to ask around about what it's like to live in the facility. This can often lend you a keen insight into potential issues. Any history of elderly abuse at the facility will often reveal itself in this way. However, don't simply dig around for negative reviews and feedback--be sure to balance it with an ear for the positive as well! Are the other tenants interesting? Does your loved one get along well with the others? Is there a general sense of community pride? Do they host their own clubs and activities, or are they left with half-hearted events arranged by the facility itself? These small, but important questions will shed a lot of light on the community health at large.
5. Trust your Intuition
In the end, you may have to rely on your intuition to make the final choice. Just remember to avoid any places that make you feel uneasy, which could potentially become a future source of grief for your loved ones. Trust your gut feeling! Contact a local community, like Carriage Oaks Retirement Community, for more information.
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