According to this study from the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), more than 1 million people are currently residing in Assisted Living facilities. With the rise in the number of people in Assisted Living communities, so increased the number of Assisted Living residences in the USA. Thus, Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility is essential.
What is an Assisted Living Community, and why do so many older adults prefer to stay there? Well, Assisted Living is nothing very far from the concept of senior care homes as it also provides medical care to the residents. For seniors with intermittent nursing care or assistance with medication, Assisted Living is the perfect retirement home.
There are many factors you should look for when searching for an ideal Assisted Living facility. Let’s start with these points.
Top Ten Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility
1. Level of experience
It might be wise to learn about the profiles of some of the staff in the Assisted Living facility that you are likely to choose. An experienced caregiver has a better chance of knowing how to take good care of the residents. Because they would have seen a lot of residents with lots of different physical and mental. They would become familiar with a wide range of medical problems. By having tackled all these problems, they will gain the proper knowledge of providing the best care.
This point should be self-explanatory. You would want to have easy access to local grocery stores, shopping malls, medical facilities from doctors outside the facility, and other such reasons. Having a convenient location that makes it possible for your family and friends to make frequent visits, would be an added advantage as well. You can rest easy knowing that your family and friends are close by in the event of an emergency.
3. Range of facilities/services
Most assisted living communities have a variety of social and recreational activities to keep the residents’ minds, and bodies engaged. From volunteering opportunities like working on community projects around your neighborhood, board games that will challenge you every time, or gardening and DIY crafts. There’s something for everyone!
Keeping the recreation part aside, you should also know about the areas of services covered by the facility. For those who love furry friends, know how your pet will be cared for in these homes – whether they allow them and if so what type of care system is used?
4. Staff-to-patient ratio
This ratio essentially tells us how many staff members there are for each patient. The smaller the number of patients taken care of by one staff, the more effective the care. There is no one-fits-all number to describe healthy staff to patient ratios as they will vary from retirement community to community. Having more staff ensures that all the needs of the residents are effectively met and managed. You should aim to find a facility that has a high staff to patient ratio.
5. Quality of medical care
This point is one of the most important factors to evaluate an Assisted Living facility. A lot of these retirement communities might provide many medical services – some common and some not so common. But it should not be about the quantity but the quality.
Professional qualification of the medical staff, arrangements for people with special needs (wheelchair, walkers, natural lighting, handrails), facility design, and tracking system of medication and health records are all relevant areas to look at.
At the end of the day, you are choosing to live in an Assisted Living community so that you have access to quality service. Moreover, there is this question of how they assess a potential resident’s need for service and whether these needs are reassessed frequently.
6. Safety and security measures
The Assisted Living communities are no less concerned than we are when it comes to safety and security. Most of these communities will have all the necessary measures in place. Facility design like having an easy-to-follow floor plan, security lighting, video surveillance, and safety alert system should be standard for most retirement communities. Moreover, suppose some of the residents have memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. In that case, the property should be kept fully-fenced and closed to ensure the patients do not wander out by themselves. If you have any specific requirements in that area, make sure to find out if that will be covered.
7. Food service
We all need a balanced diet regardless of the health condition we are in. At such a senior age, it is even more necessary to do so. Knowing ‘what to eat’, ‘how to eat’, and ‘when to eat’ are questions that many seniors might always have. Apart from the general concern of eating healthy, there are sometimes special recommendations from doctors in which seniors will have to ensure proper intake of specific nutrients. Checking the menu and asking them about their special arrangements for a healthy diet is a must.
8. The atmosphere of the living community
While this is important to know about the facility’s overall atmosphere, it is not always easy to figure out. But, how do you even decide which criteria need assessing? Well, to keep it simple, you should already know what sort of environment you are looking for. Just ask around the residents about their experiences and ask them some relevant questions. This should give a certain vibe of the atmosphere in there. Ask yourself whether you will find it easy to socialize with them, and whether you can have a free-spirited conversation with them about your life.
9. Training and education of the staff and the administrators
Typically, staff may include health directors, certified nurse assistants, food service managers, personal care attendants, maintenance personnel, and contracted services from beauticians, dietitians, nutritionists, physical therapists, among certain others. The staff should have adequate training sessions to get equipped with the proper knowledge. It’s also important to check the administrators’ qualifications as well because they are the ones who oversee the day-to-day operations. It is they who decide how to run the facility.
And finally, they should be well familiar with the ongoing research in this field. Many studies are being conducted, which might provide better ways to provide service, especially for people with special needs. Being familiar with the latest research findings means that they have more knowledge and resources to take care of their residents.
10. Total cost
The average cost of Assisted Living is usually between that of Independent Living and a Nursing Home. It will help if you find a balance between getting appropriate care and not spending extravagantly. How do you do it? Well, you spend some time researching about the Assisted Living facilities available in the USA. BoomersHub can make this easy for you. With BoomersHub, you can look for all the Assisted Living facilities available across various states in the USA. Make sure to ask about the billing, payment, and credit policies of the facility you choose.
Assisted Living retirement communities provide personalized care in a residential setting. According to state regulations, the level of medical support they need is usually determined through a health assessment by the community. This retirement community also provides a healthy lifestyle and the scope of social engagement.
Make sure you’re ready to move to Assisted Living before Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility. Once you have selected your top 2 or 3 facilities, it’s a good idea to visit those facilities. In this way, you would become familiar and comfortable with their staff. BoomersHub’s senior advisors will help you plan such visits.
As we have seen, the retirement community you should move to depends on many factors. It is you who should decide where you are planning to make a new home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an assisted living facility?
An assisted living facility is a type of long-term care facility that provides assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Assisted living facilities also provide meals, laundry service, and social activities for residents.
How much does Medicare pay for assisted living facility?
Medicare does not pay for assisted living facilities. It will only cover the medically necessary expenses while the senior is residing in an assisted living facility.
How to start an assisted living facility?
To start an assisted living facility:
- Decide what services you will offer.
- Draft a business plan.
- Find a location for your business.
- Lease or purchase the property.
- Apply for the necessary licenses and permits.
- Furnish and equip your facility.
- Market your business.
Are cameras allowed in assisted living facilities?
The answer to this question is not a straightforward one. There are assisted living facilities in some states which allow cameras with the consent of the resident and their family members. However, the process of written or formal permission to use cameras in assisted living is still ongoing.
I definitely agree with your tips about choosing an assisted living community with a great overall atmosphere to ensure it’s the kind of environment my loved one would enjoy. You’ll be able to do this by asking the residents about their experiences. I’ll share this advice with my friend Josie since she’s looking for an assisted living community for her father. Thanks for this.
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