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9 Tips in Choosing a Good Assisted Living Facility

9 Tips in Choosing a Good Assisted Living Facility

A simple guide to help you choose the best retirement home for you or your loved ones.

We all want the best retirement home for our loved ones or for ourselves in the future and deciding on the good assisted living facility can be quite distressing. There are many facilities to choose from but it’s hard to know what fit your needs. So here are some basic tips in choosing a good assisted living facility.

TIP #1. Know what level of care you or your loved one needs and what the facility offers.

There are three levels of care that retirement homes offer. Skilled nursing is for seniors who needs nursing assistance 24 hours a day. Homes usually provide them with a separate room, with or without a roommate.

Assisted living are for seniors who can do a lot of things for themselves but would be needing help in some daily activities like cooking, bathing, or taking up medications. Residents who are under this type of care are provided with a private room or apartment, meals are brought to them and a nursing assistant or staff check them up daily.

Seniors who can do daily activities by themselves but want the ease of having someone do some of their activities for them, like cleaning or cooking, falls under the independent living. Retirement homes provide them with their own apartment or condo.

TIP #2. Verify if the facility you are considering follows the rules and regulations set for retirement homes

In choosing a good assisted living facility, safety, and quality of the facility is a basic factor to consider. Visit www.medicare.gov to check if the retirement homes on your list operate according to the rules and regulations set by the Nursing Home Act (?).

Your state licensing agency and Better Business Bureau should also be contacted to gather more information.

TIP #3. Visit the facilities you are considering.

Once you are done taking information from government and other institutions, your list will narrow down. Visit the remaining choices on your list one by one and talk directly to the managers, care providers, and residents.

TIP #4. Inquire about the legality of the facility.

Is the facility licensed? Was there a time that its licensed been revoked, why? How long has it been operating?

If there is an available financial record, look through them. Ask for recent inspection documents and references for verifications.

TIP #5. Take a look around.

Check if the facility can provide the type of room that you are looking for based on the classification of help that you will need. Do they have private rooms or “stand-alone” houses? Does the facility have enough space for productive and recreational activities like gardening, games and other hobbies?

TIP #6. Inspect the facility if it’s clean.

Check the structure of the facility if it’s in good shape. Check doors and locks if they are secure.

TIP #7. Talk to the managers and staff.

According to the Federal Nursing Home Regulations 483.30, “the facility must have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident, as determined by resident assessments and individual plans of care...”

Ask the manager of the facility about the nurse to patient ratio, the caregiving, medical and other related training that nurses and staff receive. How is the working atmosphere of the staff in the facility? Do they treat each other with respect?

Are regular physician’s visits observed? Is there staff on duty 24 hours and on-call doctors in case residents need a specific medical attention?

TIP #8. Talk to the residents.

Are the residents happy with what the facility is providing? Do residents have a council so they can take part in advising the facility practices? Are they given the opportunity for new interests and hobbies? Do they have activities or programs where they could interact with other residents, friends, or family? What about education and exercises to make them fit and healthy?

Federal Nursing Home Regulations 483.15 states that “A facility must care for its residents in a manner and in an environment, that promotes maintenance or enhancement of each resident’s quality of life…” so care is not just about the facility providing them decent healthy meal and a nice warm bed. They should be able to have healthy social lives and continue to grow as individuals. Even residents with physical disabilities should be provided with activities based on their capabilities.

TIP #9. Start making a list of senior living communities to consider now.

To lessen stress in the future, do not wait for accidents or medical conditions to happen before making a list of retirement homes to choose from. Start now. It will save you a lot of time and stress. After all, aging is a journey we will all go through in the future and to be prepared for it is the first step we should take.


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