Most of us will come to a time in our lives when we need to consider assisted living either for ourselves or for a loved one. When searching for the best senior living options it would be crazy to make a decision before getting a tour of the facility. Whether you are able to do it in person or virtually due to covid restrictions, being able to see the facility will answer many questions you might have.
Depending on where you live and how many senior living options are available in that area, you may not have a lot of choices. However, if you have many facilities to consider, you can and should be picky. Make a list of the highest priorities and don’t compromise on those. Most facilities won’t offer everything, so having clear priorities will make the decision easier.
The following are a few things to look for and ask about when weighing different facility options.
Is the location appropriate?
Just like when you are choosing a home to buy, choosing an assisted living facility really is no different. The location can be very important for the resident as well as the family. If the resident will need to be at doctor appointments frequently, being close to those facilities would be a plus. If the family wants to visit often, then the location should be in close proximity to them as well.
What room options are available?
If having a private room is the most important requirement on your list, be sure to check what options are available. The size of the room will also determine how much furniture and personal belongings can be transferred from home. If the budget is tight, having a variety of room sizes available will also help accommodate the pocketbook.
How does the cost fit your budget?
Room options go hand in hand with budget. Not every facility has more than one room size. If your budget is small, having the option of a shared room can be extremely cost effective. On the other hand, if privacy and space are of utmost importance in your assisted living experience, then a facility with larger rooms and less amenities may be a better fit.
Are meals and snacks provided?
Not every facility provides meals at all, and kitchen setups vary greatly. Some meals are prepared by the care staff, while others have designated kitchen staffing. Asking how many meals a day are provided and what snack options are available will help you plan for the budget as well.
What menu options are there?
If you or your loved one have specific dietary wants or needs it will be important to know what options are available in the kitchen. If you have a severe food allergy, or your loved one requires pureed foods, having a designated space with trained kitchen staff may be important.
Are visitors allowed?
If family members live close by, they will want to be able to visit. Limited visiting hours or age restrictions may be a deal breaker. Covid has permanently changed some visitor policies, so it would be good to ask.
Are there regularly scheduled activities?
Senior living should be just that–living. Life doesn’t have to be dull, boring and mundane just because we grow older. Many facilities provide daily activities with staff specifically designated for planning and executing activities. If there is a specific activity that you are interested in be sure to ask about that as well. Are activities on-site only, or does the facility plan activities around the area and provide transportation to and from those events?
What transportation options are available?
Some facilities have a van on site. Some have limitations and will only provide transportation to necessary appointments, but some facilities provide transportation to activities and will allow personal grocery shopping trips, etc.
How many staff are on site at a time?
When making the decision to transfer to senior living, it is most likely because a higher level of care is needed than what family members at home can provide. One of the most common problems with senior living facilities is low staffing. Having a good amount of staff will lead to lower turnover rates and better care for residents.
What level of training do staff have?
Not every facility has registered nurses on site. Some facilities hire certified nursing assistants while others do not require the certification. Asking what training the staff is required to have is something you should want to know and something you have the right to inquire about. This knowledge provides peace of mind for anyone, but especially for those who require extra assistance.
Is there a separate memory care?
If your loved one suffers from dementia, it will make all the difference in the world for them to have specific memory care. Staff should be trained, facilities locked down, and other precautions taken to ensure resident safety.
Time to Make a Decision
Senior living facilities are a great option. The Gables family knows it’s not always true that staying at home is what is best for the elderly. Having access to transportation, trained staff, balanced meals, and more can help seniors thrive. Hopefully this information will help you make the choice that is best for you and your family. The Gables offers excellence in senior living. Call the location nearest you to schedule a tour today!