How can you be sure your needs or the needs of your loved one will be met?
How do you know when it’s time to transition to an assisted living community or select a skilled nursing center to recover from an injury or illness? Ask questions, ask more questions then ask again! There are many tools and checklists available for free online, but here are five tips to keep in mind when visiting your options for a long-term or short-term stay.
What is your first impression?
When you walk in the door for your tour, is there a friendly, smiling face to greet you and get you situated? Use all of your senses when you arrive. What do you see? Are residents interacting with staff and each other? How does the community décor look? What do you hear? Are there sounds of conversations and laughter? What do you smell?
Tour multiple communities to get a sense of each location.
Every community has its own culture and ways of doing things. Are the activities that are offered interesting to you or your loved one? Are there transportation arrangements for appointments and errands? After a few tours, you can create a pros and cons list to compare what you like and don’t like about each community to help with the decision making process.
Stay for a meal with the residents.
Everyone needs food for nourishment, but it should taste good. How is the food presented and most importantly, how does it taste? Dine with some residents and ask what their likes and dislikes are about the community. They’ll have insider information and you’ll hear it right from the people who live there each day. Are their physical, emotional and spiritual needs being met? Overall, do they enjoy where they live?
Is the community in compliance with state and local requirements?
Ask about staff training, continuing education and background checks to ensure only qualified individuals will be responsible for your care. Assisted living communities and skilled nursing centers undergo an annual survey to ensure they are in compliance with the various state and federal rules and regulations. Depending on the type of community or center you are reviewing, there are various systems in place to measure staffing (resident to staff ratio), health inspections and many different quality measures.
At the end of the day, don’t forget about your gut feeling. Your intuition can be a powerful tool when touring the locations and eventually selecting the community that’s right for your circumstances.