How to Evaluate an Elder Care Community
It never feels like the right time to think about moving a loved one to an assisted living community. Above all else, you want your senior to be safe, well fed, and mentally stimulated. Once you’ve decided to make a change, the next decision is finding the right community for your aging senior. It’s important to take the following precautions to determine if the elder care community feels right for your loved one.
Ask the important questions
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to elder care facilities. Make sure you’re asking the right questions based on your loved one’s priorities and pain points. These questions may include:
- Are the residents reminded to take medications? Do staff members administer meds? How are prescriptions filled?
- What are the meal options and at what times are meals offered? Can meal options be customized to fit specific health concerns? You might also want to see if they’re willing to provide a taste test of some of the menu items.
- Is transportation available to and from medical appointments or other outside activities?
- What security precautions are taken, both to keep intruders out and keep residents in?
Look for red flags
While you don’t want to drive yourself crazy analyzing every little thing, it’s important to take time to really observe the way of life at each community. Make it a point to watch interactions among the staff and residents. Are they respectful and accommodating? Do the staff members seem happy to be there? Are residents in common areas communicating and participating in activities? If the place seems quiet and desolate, the community might not be full or residents might not enjoy using the common areas. Both could be a sign for concern.
Get a copy of the admissions contract and rules, which should outline fees, services, residents’ rights, etc. If you sense the staff is hesitant to hand over the contract before you’ve chosen a Community, consider it a bright red flag.
Show up unannounced
Before making a final decision, be sure to visit a handful of facilities to get a better sense of what is common practice and what is not. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, make unannounced visits. This will give you a better idea of what a typical day is like for both the residents and the staff, without someone showing you only the selling points.
Evaluate all costs
Once you’ve chosen a community, be sure to itemize every cost in the budget, including extra services your loved one will need, the deposit or down payment, and any unexpected rate increases that may need to be considered, as most costs for assisted living facilities have to be paid out-of-pocket.
Helping you through the process
Deciding to make the move to a long-term care community is an emotional, financial, and physically taxing process, but you don’t have to do it alone. If your parent or loved one needs more help than you can provide, contact Oasis Senior Advisors for assistance. We offer resources for seniors and their families, as well as support and guidance every step of the way, so you can feel confident in your senior housing selection.