Choosing the right home for an elderly loved one is the most important elder care decision a family can make. Be sure to schedule visits to several different communities so you have options before deciding. Here are some helpful “tips on touring” about what to look for when you tour nursing homes, assisted living homes, or other senior housing communities.
Remember that it is not the decor that counts, but the quality of care your loved one will receive that’s most important.
Tip #1: Clean as a Whistle
Is the community fresh and clean? Look past the furnishings and into corners, baseboards, and windows. Ask how often housekeeping is provided in the apartment or room. What services does maintenance provide? What is their response time?
Tip #2: Follow Your Nose
Odors may indicate a lack of cleanliness or a temporary problem that was caused by a recent incident. If you find odors in a concentrated area of the tour this may indicate a single incident. Odors throughout the community are likely to indicate a problem. Ask the manager what they believe to be the problem before proceeding.
Tip #3: Busy residents are happy residents
Ask to watch activities. Are they well attended? Does the staff seem to be enjoying the activity as well? View the community event calendar. Do they match your loved one’s interests? Look for small and large group activities, trips or outings. Inquire about religious services if this is important.
Tip #4: Whistle while they work
Staff attitude and friendliness are of the utmost importance. Observe the staff interacting with current residents. Do they listen and make eye contact? If you feel welcomed while you tour, so will your loved one. Make sure to get a good understanding of the staffing pattern. How many people would be truly involved in your loved one’s care? Introduction to the management team will help you understand the goals of the property. Is the manager willing and available to meet with you? Do you have confidence in his or her management style and experience?
Tip #5: Find the great outdoors
Everyone wants to go outside on beautiful spring days. Investigate the outdoor areas for the residents. Does it feel safe and secure? Find out if the staff uses the same area for breaks. Do they host activities such as gardening in these areas?
Tip #6: Choices, choices, choices
The dining room experience is very important to seniors. Discuss entrÉe choices and ask about dining hours and procedures. Bring your loved one in for a meal to taste the food and meet some of the residents. Discuss what happens if a resident cannot make it to the dining room for a meal. Don’t forget to ask about the laundry service and procedures. Who does the laundry and what is the cost?
Tip #7: Safe and sound
Safety and security features are very important for seniors. Are the bathrooms accessible and do they have grab bars in convenient locations? How does a resident contact staff if they have an emergency in their room or apartment? What other safety features are available in the apartment and throughout the community? Ask about the staffing pattern to understand who will be on-site to assist the resident. How many licensed nurses or staff members are available? What are the staffing patterns at night versus in the daytime? How are medications managed?
Tip #8: Care with dignity
Ask lots of questions on personal care. Look at current residents. Are they clean-shaven with well-groomed hair and nails? Discuss bathing options and your loved one’s preferences. Are the residents dressed appropriately? Are the staff treating residents with respect and a smile?
Tip #9: When it’s time to leave
No senior likes to move a lot. Ask about specific move-out criteria. Under what circumstances is a resident asked to move? What type of notice is given by them or by you? In many cases, a 30-day notice may be required.
Tip #10: Trust your instincts
Can you imagine you or your loved one living there and being comfortable? Did you feel at ease while touring? Was the staff friendly and inviting? The property doesn’t have to be the most beautiful to be the best place for them to live comfortably! Follow your instincts and your heart.
article from A Place For Mom