If a family has made the decision to move an elderly loved one into an assisted living facility, the next decision is just as important: which one to choose?
Choosing a facility is a decision that only can be made by family, but some questions to ask when researching and visiting an assisted living home can help to make an informed decision.
Often, the No. 1 question is how much it will cost.
If you haven’t looked at assisted living before, seeing the price is kind of a sticker shock.
The first question families should ask is whether the facility has levels of care and if those levels require an additional cost.
Are there levels that define the care acuity, such as if they need assistance showering, going on the toilet or assistance dressing. Some facilities do have extra charges.
A lot of families ask about Medicaid coverage for assisted living. There are Medicaid-accepted assisted living facilities, but not all facilities will take Medicaid, so it is important to ask at each location.
Another question that is asked a lot is about activities and how residents are transported to off-site activities. Ask to see activity calendars and food menus.
It is common for family members to feel guilty about placing a senior in an assisted living facility and they often look for a facility that is modern looking and high end. Don’t let guilt cause families to worry too much about superficial aspects of the building, however you do want a nice building that is light, airy, modern, has a good feel, and is well-maintained.
It’s about the care, the teamwork of the staff, and the care given to the resident. Don’t worry about a place that is 20 years old compared to a new building down the street.
As much research as possible should be done before reaching a decision, including going online to a reputable source, talking to organizations such as the National Council on Aging and visiting local senior centers.
Take as much time as you possibly can, both when researching online and hopefully when spending time in the community itself. It’s not a decision to rush into and you should be as best prepared as you can.
Also do spot checks of the facility.
After seeing the facility, stop back in and see how it is again. Look behind the door. A lot of time, if you schedule a tour, there’s a specific activity going on, but you don’t know what’s going on at say 6:15 p.m. on a Tuesday. Do a spot check, do two of them and have another family member go, too.
Also, take as long as needed on a tour. Don’t let the community decide how long the tour is. You should go in with your own time frame.
For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.