If you have made the decision to help a loved one enjoy continuing quality of life and as much independence as possible in difficult circumstances, then you are most likely considering the option of an assisted living facility. Moving away from their home and familiar surroundings is an important decision and moment in a senior’s life, so you need to ask as many questions as possible in order to be fully satisfied that you have chosen the right place.
The overriding factor that should be uppermost in your mind is the level of comfort that you can expect overall and the facilities on offer are important in making sure that you are happy to settle into life at your chosen assisted living center. Bearing in mind the level of mobility that is currently enjoyed, you need to check if the layout of the facility will make it easy to get around. Make sure that the access areas and doorways can accommodate wheelchairs if needed and see if the rooms feel homely, with a kitchenette and a private bathroom for privacy and independence.
Whilst frequent or intensive medical is unlikely to be offered or available, as that is where a nursing home will be more suitable, you should ask how medications are handled and whether they allow self-administered medication if appropriate. You should also ask if therapists and medical specialists are available through scheduled visits and check how they handle any medical emergencies that may occur.
The quality of the staff are a vital aspect of the assisted care facility and you should soon be able to get a feel on your inspection visit whether the staff that work there seem warm and welcoming. Take note to see if staff members interact with the residents in a kind and respectful manner and observe whether they refer to residents by their names and seem generally helpful and attentive.
The best source of information is often the existing residents and the facility management should not object to you asking then a few questions about how they enjoy their life there. You should try to gauge if the residents seem happy and comfortable and whether they socialize with each other.
Ask to see an example menu if you do not visit during a meal time and check to see whether the type of food appeals and also whether they are able to cater for any special medical dietary needs or even religious based needs. Although the social aspect of living in as assisted living center is always to be encouraged, you should ask whether there is the option of eating in the room sometimes rather than in the dining room. Check to see if you can sometimes bring a non-resident guest to dinner, which always make it feel more like home, and also ask if there is any policy on serving alcohol at meal times.
These are just some of the most pertinent questions you should be asking before settling on your chosen care facility, but always keep in mind that this is a momentous decision, so do not be afraid to take your time choosing and ask as many questions as you need in order to feel comfortable that you have got it right.
Alan Fields works as an in-home senior caretaker. He frequently shares his tips for transitioning from in home to assisted living on blogs for seniors. Click the Assisted Living Today’s guide to housing for seniors link to get your guide.