10 Tips for Choosing the Right Senior Housing Facility

Melonie Pratt Alzheimer's and Dementia, Assisted Living, Senior Care Articles Leave a comment  

It’s a fact: Finding that special place that will be home for your parents is one of the most important – and difficult – decisions you will ever make. Take the time to visit each facility you are considering, talk with the staff and residents, and carefully review all information and brochures offered. Make several visits at varying times of the day and week to get a complete assessment of the home.

We have listed some items that you may want to pay special attention to as you work through this process. If you have questions or would like us to arrange a tour, call Choice Connections today!

1. Safety and Security.

Safety and security are critically important for your peace of mind. Consider the following criteria as you review potential living arrangements:

  • What is the neighborhood like – is it safe?
  • Does the facility have a security system?
  • What is the staff to resident ratio?
  • How does a resident contact a staff member in case of an emergency?
  • Are there licensed personnel on staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
  • Are the bathrooms accessible, with grab bars in convenient locations?
  • Are there pull cords, hand rails and door alarms?
  • How extensive is the fire system?
  • Are doors, hallways, and rooms accommodating to wheelchairs and walkers?
  • How are medications managed?
  • Is the staff trained properly to dispense medications?
  • Are thorough background checks conducted on all staff members?
Choice Connections highly recommends for you to request to review any pertinent licensing information such as any state business licenses and/or a copy of the most current state inspection.


2. Future Needs.

It’s hard enough for seniors to move once. Multiple moves can be traumatic. If you anticipate changes in care needs as your parent ages, check to see if the facility offers additional services as health care needs increase. Facilities or homes offering differing levels of services are often called “continuum of care” facilities. For example, they may offer independent living, assisted living, assisted living plus, and nursing care within the same campus.

  • What are the criteria for moving from one level of care to another?
  • If the facility does not offer increased services, can outside service providers be contracted if financially feasible?
  • Under what conditions is a resident asked to move?
Read the agreement carefully and be familiar with the move-out criteria. In most cases, a 30-day notice is required.


3. Staff and Management.

Staff attitude and friendliness is of the utmost importance. These are the people who will be caring for your parents and working with you through any transitions that are needed.

  • Did you feel welcome?
  • Does the relationship between staff and residents appear warm, polite and respectful?
  • How does the staff interact with the residents?
  • Do they listen and make eye contact?
  • Does the facility require training and continuing education for staff?
  • Is the Director willing and available to meet with you?
  • Are you comfortable with their experience and management style?


4. Food and Nutrition.

Food is a pleasure that we continue to enjoy as we age. Make sure you tour potential facilities during mealtime so that you and your parents can test the food, share the dining experience and meet other residents.

  • What are some typical entrée choices?
  • What are dining hours?
  • Do they have a nutritionist on staff?
  • What is the procedure for a resident who would like to invite a guest for a meal?
  • Do they have a sample menu that you can take with you?
  • Does the home offer a variety of nutritious meals and snacks?
  • Can a resident request a favorite food?
  • How are special dietary needs accommodated?
  • Are seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables offered?
  • Can a resident eat in their room?


5. Activities.

Active residents are usually happy residents. Request an activity calendar and/or resident newsletter so that you can see what is going on around the facility.

  • Is there an Activities Director? Look for small and large group activities, trips and outings.
  • Are the activities ones in which you parent would be interested?
  • Do they provide church services and/or bible study?
  • Are the activities well attended?
  • Is socialization encouraged and promoted? Is it easy to socialize with other residents?
  • Are there lounge or gathering areas such as patios or courtyards?
  • Are there reading material such as newspapers, books, and magazines available?
  • Are the rooms wired for cable television, telephone and/or computer?
  • Does the facility have its own pets?


6. Cleanliness and Maintenance.

Make a clean sweep observation on the overall cleanliness of the home.

  • Is the home clean, well-kept and odor-free?  Odors in a concentrated area may indicate a recent incident.
  • Do they care about the details? Look past the obvious into the nooks and crannies…window sills, baseboards and corners.
  • Are the grounds and building maintained?


7. Personal Services.

During your tour, ask many questions regarding personal care services. After all – those are the touches that you would want to provide if you could be there.

  • Does the facility offer a bathing service?
  • Can the facility handle incontinence issues?
  • Observe the current residents. Are they clean shaven with well groomed hair and nails?
  • Are the residents dressed appropriately and do they appear well cared for?
  • Mentally and physically do the residents appear to be appropriate house-mates for your parent(s)?


8. The Fine Print.

Review the agreement carefully. Make sure you get clarification on anything you don’t understand. Choice Connections highly recommends that a professional trusted advisor review any admissions documents before entering into a contractual agreement with any specific community.

  • What is the monthly rate?
  • Are there any extra fees?
  • Is a deposit or entrance fee required?
  • Is the deposit returned when the resident moves out?
  • When and how may you terminate the contract?
  • What are the policies for refunds?


9. Trust Your Instincts.

Did you feel at ease during your tour? Was the staff attentive and welcoming? Can you imagine you or your parent(s) living there comfortably? Always trust your feelings and follow your heart.

10. Contact Your Local Choice Connections Advisor.

Whether you are looking for Assisted Living, Residential Care, Independent Living, Nursing Home or Alzheimer’s/Dementia Care in the Richmond Virgina area, the search to find the “perfect fit” home has never been simpler. Our team of experienced, compassionate senior care experts will help you explore and understand the most appropriate care and funding options for your loved ones. At Choice Conenctions, you’re never alone. We take pride in personally guiding our clients every step of the way. Don’t wait, contect your local Choice Connections Senior Housing Specialist today!

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