11 Nov, 2021

An assisted living facility can be an excellent option for older people who need assistance with some of their daily routines but are generally still independent. The assistance provided by assisted living facilities varies from housekeeping and preparing meals to medical services and emergency care.

After deciding that moving into assisted living is the logical course of action for your senior loved ones, the next step would be to choose a community that suits their unique needs and preferences.

With increasingly diverse options, finding the right assisted living community can be tedious. If you’re an adult child helping a senior parent navigate their senior living options, we’ve compiled some information that you need to know to lessen the risk of future relocation.

What are the key characteristics of an assisted living facility?

To decide which assisted living community is best for an elder parent, you must know its key characteristics. Here are some of the things that the best and top-rated assisted living communities have in common:

Welcoming atmosphere

Some assisted living communities greet you with a welcoming and homey atmosphere as soon as you walk into the reception area. To create this atmosphere, the facility must be clean, bright, and nicely decorated. Also, there should be spaces where your senior parent can get together with other residents and engage in social activities, like afternoon refreshments in the courtyard.

Offers personalized plans

Every older person will have different needs, and the community should be ready to accommodate those needs, whether physical, emotional, or social, with the help of the trained staff.

Helps residents maintain autonomy and independence

Because residents in assisted living communities are still capable of doing tasks on their own, they should be given privacy and freedom. Treating them with respect and dignity is important.

The same goes for their apartments and other amenities available for their use — residents should be given a clean and private space and access to needed amenities that support an independent lifestyle.

What are the levels of care in assisted living?

The levels of care in assisted living communities vary depending on what is offered. The community conducts an initial assessment of the senior’s motor skills, mobility, and medical condition before determining the level of care necessary. Typically, higher levels of care are provided for seniors who need more help with their daily activities.

For example, level 1 typically involves assistance with basic needs, like a wake-up call in the morning and simple medication reminders. As residents’ care needs increase, they receive a higher level of care support. Level 2 usually includes help with bathing, while the highest levels of care typically include skilled care services like those offered in memory care.

Are the staff members well-trained?

Staff members in assisted living facilities receive proper training to provide the best quality of care to the residents. The majority of states, including Texas, require direct care workers to complete training within the first 30 days of being hired. The training that the care staff receive depends on their roles. For example, those who deal with resident records must receive training about maintaining privacy. Additional training includes emergency response, communication skills, and medication assistance.

Can a person with dementia live in assisted living?

Dementia is a condition that impacts a senior’s ability to think, remember, and reason, diminishing the quality of life. If your loved one has early to middle-stage dementia, they may remain in assisted living as some communities offer a higher level of care services. But first, you need to coordinate with the community staff if this living arrangement is possible. As the disease progresses, you may need to consider memory care communities, which offer enhanced security and care services. Many assisted living communities have a separate wing or building for people living with dementia, which makes transitioning from assisted living to memory care easier.

When should you consider assisted living?

Here are some telltale signs that it’s time for assisted living:

  • Family caregivers can no longer provide adequate care.
  • Accidents, such as falls, are becoming more frequent.
  • Medical care is becoming necessarily frequent.
  • Your senior loved one is suffering from early-stage memory loss.
  • There is a lack of access to proper nutrition.
  • There is a constant need for help with daily activities.

How do I choose a good assisted living facility?

When visiting an assisted living community, there are steps you can take to determine if it’s the right home for your senior loved one.

First of all, you have to pay attention to the facility itself. Is it clean and comfortable? Are there safe areas for residents to socialize? You can also get to know the staff and ask them important questions involving staff-to-resident ratio, staff turnover rate, and others. Speaking with staff members will also help you see if they’re friendly and accommodating.

You should also observe the community’s culture and amenities. But, most of all, you should ask questions about costs and financing options.

What are some factors that a family should consider before choosing an assisted living facility?

Before choosing an assisted living facility for an older member of your family, consider these factors:

Location

You would probably want to choose a facility in your local area to be close to your senior loved one. After all, you’d still want to visit them from time to time. However, you should also keep in mind that states have varying laws regarding assisted living. Some states have a limit as to how much medical assistance their facilities can offer.

Services

Does the facility provide services tailored to the specific needs of its residents? Do they have recreational programs, such as outings, art, and pet therapy? Do they cater to specific health needs? These are things you’d want to know beforehand.

Culture

To get a feel of the facility’s culture and environment, you can schedule a community tour, talk to staff, or grab a bite to eat with the residents. Ultimately, you’ll want to make sure that it feels like the right place to entrust with the care of your senior loved one.

Cost

An assisted living facility’s affordability is one of the biggest determining factors when deciding to move. There are financing options to help cover the living fees. You can ask about them from the community director or senior living advisor. Ultimately, you need to narrow down your choices based on affordability.

What to ask when looking for assisted living facilities?

When you’re visiting an assisted living community, here are some basic questions you can ask to help hasten your decision-making process:

  • What is your monthly fee?
  • What services are included in the monthly fee?
  • What type of activities or events are offered?
  • Do you offer free or paid transportation?
  • Do you provide skilled medical services on-site?
  • What meal options do you have?
  • Are you located near a hospital for emergencies?
  • What training is provided to staff members?
  • When can I visit my senior loved one?

Conclusion

The work involved in finding the best assisted living facility for a senior parent can be overwhelming — more so if you’re in a situation where you need to make a prompt decision. It can be time and energy-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Although you have to consider many things, enlisting the help of a senior living expert can make the process a whole lot easier.

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Syed Rizvi


Syed has years of experience dealing with people, understanding their needs, and helping them find solutions to their problems.
As a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), Certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional (CMDCP), Syed is committed to working closely with Senior and their family knowing what is it like for individuals facing a challenging time, at times groping in dark trying to figure what is the appropriate next step or care level for their unique situation.
Syed and Senex Memory Advisors are fully committed to working closely with families in creating a personalized, step-by-step process memory care plan at zero cost.

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