Six Signs that You Chose a Good Community for Your Loved One
If your loved one needs a senior living situation, you may want to explore the possibility of assisted living communities. But how do you know how to choose the right long-term care community for your family member? You can study state inspection reports and read online reviews, but you should also seek recommendations from colleagues and neighbors to find out how the community is managed—and make sure the information reflects the current management team of a facility. Below, our team at Well Homed, a residential assisted living facility in Elkton, MD, discusses some of the other things you should look for when you are selecting an assisted living facility near you.
1. Appropriate Levels of Care
When your loved one first needs assisted living, they may not need very much extra care, but that changes with age. Choosing a facility that offers scaffolded levels of care (often called “continuing care” or “aging in place”) can enable them to stay in the same place as their daily living and care needs evolve. Be aware that assisted living is not the same as a skilled nursing home since residents in assisted living are generally more semi-independent and don’t require intensive medical care onsite. Find out if the facility is equipped to handle any chronic conditions that may get worse with age. Similarly, if your loved one has shown signs of cognitive decline, ask if the community offers memory care for dementia.
2. Appropriate Safety Features
Prioritizing the safety of your loved one doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice their freedom. Assisted living facilities should strike a balance between letting residents live independently and being able to respond quickly in an emergency. Look for a facility that has features like:
- Grab bars in showers and near toilets
- Emergency pull cords in every room, even common areas
- Physicians and nurses on-call 24 hours a day
- Smoke detectors and overhead sprinklers
3. Clean, Well-Maintained Buildings and Grounds
While the state of an assisted living facility’s landscaping shouldn’t be your top priority, the environment reflects the facility’s resources. Signs of long-term neglect of the infrastructure may indicate that the management has limited budgeting to attend to the residents as well.
4. Transparent Contracts
Ask to look at a contract before you commit to enrolling your family member and study it well. Does it cover the entire scope of what your family member needs? Is the language easy to understand? Contracts can be dense, and sifting through them takes effort, but reading the terms is essential. A contract that omits important elements can be a red flag.
5. Amenities That Match the Resident’s Needs
Your loved one’s comfort and happiness should be your top priority. What daily activities does the facility offer? Do these activities line up with your family member’s interests? You’ll also want to find out about the schedule of activities and the level of interaction among the residents. If you’d like to learn more about the ideal male-to-female resident ratio in an assisted living home, keep reading our blog. Even if your parent or spouse can’t continue with their life as it was before, you should still find a community where the activities match their goals, interests, and abilities.
6. Active, Friendly Residents
When selecting an assisted living facility, don’t talk just to the staff. Talk to the current residents, too. Find out how long the people you meet have been living there and what they think about it. Ask what a typical day looks like for them. If they need something from the staff, how long do they have to wait? Whatever questions you have about assisted living facilities, it’s critical to get the point of view of the residents—not just the marketing staff.
Well Homed: For All Your Loved One’s Needs
Looking at online reviews and talking to the staff is a good start, but it can only tell you part of the story. Your family member’s personal experience is what matters the most, so ultimately, trust your gut and monitor your loved one’s care closely. At Well Homed in Elkton, MD, we treat each of our assisted living residents like family and provide them with the assistance they need to live as independently as possible. If you’re interested in learning more, give us a call at 410-498-9060.