Assisted living communities or residences are the preferable long-term care option for many seniors who require housing, support services and healthcare on a continuing basis. Now available nationwide, these regulated establishments differ from medical centers or nursing homes in that they offer medical services, assistance with the Activities of Daily Living, social, cultural, exercise and wellness programs in a home-like atmosphere. Compared to the services and facilities provided, the cost of Assisted Living is often less than home health care or skilled nursing home care offered in the same region. Services available to the residents vary from facility to facility and, in addition to room size and area cost of living, is a determining factor in fees charged.
Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility
It is essential to carefully evaluate your options before making a selection. The important factors to investigate are:
- MEDICAL CARE: What is the level of medical care? Observe the residents. Are they well groomed? Are the common areas pleasant and odor-free? This is a good indicator of the quality of life in the community. Are there detailed and definite plans for each resident’s care? Do they offer specialized care for Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia? Does the assisted living home have access to doctors and clinics to handle emergency situations? Are the transport vehicles utilized during emergencies free or are they paid for by the residents?
- STAFF HABITS – Do the caregivers have the requisite skills to provide proper care to the residents? Are they friendly and warm? Speak to the residents. Do they feel their needs are met and they are treated with dignity and respect? Find out how many professionals remain on duty during the day and night. Ask about the level of the experience of the staff? Can any of them handle residents who have Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease? How quickly do they respond to a resident’s service request?
- ACCOMMODATIONS – Are the living spaces clean and hygienic? How is the overall ambiance? Are there appropriate safety measures, access to 24-hour call buttons, individual temperature control devices, backyards and/or gardens? These are crucial elements in ensuring the well-being of senior citizens.
- SOCIAL INTERACTION – What events are on the schedule? Are residents actively participating in meaningful activities? An assortment of activities and cultural events are essential. Spiritual, social and fitness activities should be a regular part of the lifestyle in a high quality assisted living community.
An excellent assisted living community will provide a detailed service plan, outlining the personalized services offered to individual residents, assist residents in maintaining their maximum potential independence, and encourage residents to lead purposeful lives.