How do I choose the best community for my loved one?
Research the options in your area that could accommodate your loved one. Tour each one and look at the care available and the care that is being given. What are the attitudes of the staff and residents? Are they friendly and accommodating or disinterested? Also check for activities that your loved one will enjoy. Is it bright and cheerful, are their smiles and laughter or is it dark and idle? Are residents content and positive or do they seem lonely and lost?
Choosing the right assisted living community should be an involved and carefully thought-out process. Picking the right assisted living community is even more important than choosing a house or apartment. Most importantly, try to involve loved ones in making your decision.
Use this checklist to help you make the decision:
- Is the atmosphere comfortable and friendly?
- Are pets allowed that will aggravate allergies?
- What types of meals are offered by the community? Consider nutrition, choice, appearance, variety, and taste.
Are special meals available for dietary restrictions?
- Does a dietician approve resident meal plans?
- Are there enough organized activities and socialization opportunities?
- Is offsite transportation available?
- Can I bring my own car?
- What are the community’s visiting hours?
- What types of accommodations are available for visitors? Is there a quiet place we can visit? Is there a way to have a meal together?
- How clean is the community in reference to appearance and odor?
- What is the general attitude and appearance of the residents?
- What is the general attitude of the staff? Is the staff friendly and courteous to residents and each other?
- What is the participation level of current residents in activities and outings?
- How often and in what manner does the staff interact with the residents?
- Would I have any say in the development of the care plan?
- How often are each resident’s needs reassessed?
- What are the admission requirements?
- Is the community licensed by the state?
Evaluate Available Services and Activities
Determine how you would meet other residents and make friends at the community. Are there enough activities that you enjoy and find engaging? Having a social life and friends affect the quality of life for years to come. There should be no need to give up your current friends. Consider meeting your current friends for a game of cards or going out with them for lunch. Is there a way to make this happen?
Look for Amenities that You Will Use
It doesn’t matter how many amenities are offered if they are of no interest to you. Evaluate each one in terms of how often you would use it.
- Are there exercise classes available on regular intervals to boost your health? How difficult are the exercises?
- Is there access to computers and the internet? Is there Wi-Fi?
- Are off-site trips available for shopping and entertainment?
- Do the units have telephone and cable television connections?
- Is there a kitchen with a sink and refrigerator in the unit?
- Are religious communities available?
- Are entertainers regularly scheduled for your enjoyment?
Appraise the Staffing
Ask about their staffing ratios? Does the staff that provides care have to also serve resident meals, do housekeeping and laundry and care for resident personal hygiene. Or is there a full staff that specializes each in their respective departments allowing caregivers to focus only on care? Is the staff well trained and experienced?
Make sure your know the key managers and interview them. Ask how long they’ve been there and how much experience they have? Get to know the owners and the mission of their community. Is it owned privately or run by a profit-driven corporation?
Assess Your Safety if You Were in This Community
Imagine that you lived in this community. How safe would you feel? Look for intercoms and emergency pull cords in the rooms to summon help. Watch to see how quickly the staff responds to calls for help.
Are nurses on duty twenty-four hours to competently handle accidents or emergencies, or are they just on call? Who administers the medications?
When are the outside doors locked and are visitors allowed in? See if there is a lock on the door to your room. These can protect you from unwanted guests as well as protect your valuables while you are out of your room. Are safes in every room? Are there video cameras throughout for added protection?
Consider your safety in an emergency. Does the community have a state-of-the-art fire protection or is it older and lacking in safety features. Are there elevators and stairs that make it difficult to get out of the building or is it all on one floor? Look for handrails in the hallways and sprinkling systems overhead. Is the staff well trained in emergency protocols?
Examine the Location
Is it conveniently located for you to easily access and frequently visit? Is it near doctor’s offices, shopping, banks and restaurants? Remember: Location, location, location. It will be comforting for your loved one to know that you can get there quickly if needed.
Seek a Referral
Ask your doctor, attorney, minister, investment specialist, social worker and friends what they know about the community. While you are touring, ask the residents themselves what they think about their community.
Contact us to Get Answers to Your Questions
There are many things to learn about a community before choosing the one that is right for you. At The Inn at Belden Village, we recommend that you visit us several times at different times of the day in order to see who we are. We even invite potential residents to join us for an outing or activity to experience our social life. We will gladly give you tours and answer your questions. Contact us today to setup a tour.