Assisted Living Facilities – Things to Consider Before Making a Decision

What indications are there that will determine the need to look for Assisted Living facilities?

– It is ideal for those who may require help with meal preparations, doing their housekeeping, showering, and remembering to take their medications.

– Not eating properly as my mother did by having pork ‘n’ beans or canned tomatoes over toast or soup.

– Falling frequently is another indication. When my mother fell in the bathroom, pulling the towel rod off the wall and hitting her shoulder on the tub, we knew we had to think of other options. She had had other falls but this was the worst. Bruising will be a tell-tale sign.

– When minimal housekeeping is not being done.

– Forgetting to take medications. This is usually a result of memory loss.

– Confusion and strange behavior. On one visit to my mother’s place, she had a pot on the stove with the burner turned on beneath it. She said she was drying the pot. My mother was an extremely intelligent woman so this was definitely strange behavior for her.

– When isolation and loneliness become a factor and help is required, an Assisted Living facility becomes the ideal choice because they can receive the help they need but are still able to retain their independence.

What are some of the things to do when choosing this type of facility?

– Visit several in the area of your choice to get a feel for the place. Is it homey? Does it feel comfortable? Is it close to friends and family?

– Assess how the staff interacts with the residents. Do they take the time to talk to them or are they rushed? Are they warm and friendly?

– Is there enough staff, especially at busy times such as meals and when medications are given out.

– Speak to as many residents as possible to determine whether they are happy living there.

– Ask a lot of questions of both the residents and the staff to get as much information as possible before making a decision.

– Check to see if there have been any complaints about the facility.

– Ask to see certification inspection reports.

– Ask to see the Resident Agreement which outlines services, prices, staffing, extra charges and house rules. Do they charge extra for assistance with showers, toilet needs or giving medications? Determine what their obligation is as well as your own.

– Are there extra services available such as a manicurist, hairdresser or podiatrist?

– Is there a 24 hour response system in each unit?

– Is there a nurse available on staff 24 hours a day?

– Is there security on the doors?

– Are there handrails in the hallways and bathrooms, and are the hallways and elevators wide enough to allow for walkers and wheelchairs?

– Do they clean the rooms and do laundry? Is the facility, in general, clean and well maintained?

– Do they have cable and telephone hook-up in each unit and if so, is there an additional cost?

– Do they consider and accommodate dietary needs?

– Do they allow overnight guests and are residents allowed to keep their pets?

– What activities are available for the residents? Do they have regular bus trips?

– Eat a meal there to determine the quality of food and whether staff give assistance if necessary.

– Is there another level of care provided when more care is required than what is offered in the Assisted Living facility? My mother lived in a place that offered three levels of care.

– Try to determine by talking to residents what the staff turnover rate is.

There is a lot to consider when looking for an Assisted Living facility. It is a stressful change for elderly people. None of us like changes so it is important to make the best choice at the beginning before a move is made.