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. The more experience a caregiver has, the better they will know how to take care of their residents. An experienced caregiver will 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 the location in such a place that makes it possible for your family and friends to make frequent visits will also be an added advantage. You would feel more safe and secure, knowing that they aren’t very far away.
3. Range of facilities/services
All Assisted Living communities will have some everyday recreational activities to keep the residents’ minds, bodies and spirits engaged. From volunteering opportunities to board games, mini-libraries, arts and crafts, gardening, and the likes – there should be sufficient social and recreational activities.
Apart from the recreation aspect, you should know what areas are covered by their services. For the pet lovers, you must know about the pet care system of these facilities – whether they allow pets and if they do, whether the residents are satisfied with that care system.
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. How do you even decide what criterion to assess? Well, to keep it simple, you should already know what sort of environment you are looking for. Just ask around the residents about their experience 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, 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.