It’s difficult to accept our bodies have slowed and we are less agile with each passing year. It’s even more difficult to see our aged loved ones become less capable of taking care of their simple daily needs. It is easier to just consider these things as a normal part of aging, but perhaps the best thing we can do for our families is to acknowledge that there are serious problems and help get them the assisted living services they need to remain safe.
-Identify Possible Warning Signs of Family Member
-Perform Facility In-House Needs Assessment
-Choosing the Proper Assisted Living Facility
1. Identify Possible Warning Signs of Family Members
The process for the transition of a family member into an assisted living residence involves some very important steps, it begins with understanding your loved one’s capacity to live independently at home safely and comfortably. There are specific areas of concern to be aware of, if one or more of these conditions exist with your family member, an assisted living residence may be needed.
Vision Loss – Inability of family member to see accurately, drive, read prescriptions or food labels.
Hearing Loss – Does family member have or need a hearing aid, are they able to hear telephone, smoke/fire alarms, do they fail to respond to normal tone of voice or to respond to you when their back is turned.
Medications – Are outdated medications being kept in the home, are similar prescriptions being provided by several doctors.
Lack of Food – Is there little, or no healthy foods in home, are there expired dates on foods, are they able to shop for food.
Appearance – Does family member show signs of dehydration, bruising on parts of their body, slow healing wounds, unusual tearing. Is your family member living in a safe and clean home environment?
Isolation – Does senior have regular home visits from family and friends, or do they spend all their time alone.
2. Perform In-House Needs Assessment
Once it is deemed necessary to consider a family member for an assisted living residence, the search for the best facility is a crucial one. Each facility visited will require a Needs Assessment. This assessment of the family member will focus on the following areas:
Behavioral Condition – Most facilities will take a general look at a senior’s behavior. Will the senior be able to comply with the facility’s policies.
Mental Condition – Facility will assess a senior’s cognitive and mental condition to determine if they are experiencing confusion or dementia.
Medical Needs – Assessment will typically include everything from a look at senior’s past medical history to varied health issues like cancer, heart issues, diabetes digestive disorders, vision, hearing, and incontinence.
Need for Special Support – Will senior need special diet, assistance with oxygen, wheelchair assistance.
Personal Care and Hygiene – Will senior need assistance with personal care, bathing, hygiene, grooming and use of rest room.
During the Needs Assessment the senior and their family will have the ability to ask the specific questions regarding the facility and the care plan expected to be provided.
3. Choosing the Proper Assisted Living Facility
In making the decision as to where to place a family member, take your time, conduct the proper research, make sure the facility is a good match for your loved one. Have your family member visit the facility multiple times before making the final decision. Finding the right assisted living facility is one of the most important decisions that will ever be made for your senior loved one. Here are some significant things to consider:
Cleanliness of Facility – Does the facility seem clean, are there odors? Are the furnishing and rooms in good condition? Ask if housekeeping is provided.
Visit During Activity Times – Ask to watch activities or possibly participate, look at the activity calendar, what is the attitude of the staff during activities. Are religious services available?
Friendliness of Staff – How does the staff interact with residents, are they attentive to the needs of residents? What is the staff to resident ratio? Meet the management team.
Facility Grounds – What outdoor areas are available to residents? Are there outdoor activities?
Meals – What type of menus are available, and times for meals? Have a meal during your visit, meet and talk with other residents. Is room service available?
Personal Care of Residents – Are the residents groomed and dressed appropriately, is hair salon services available? How are medications distributed?
Research the Facility – Talk to current and former residents and their families, is there a resident council on-site?
Security and Safety – Ask about the security and safety procedures, are all rooms properly equipped with grab bars. Go over emergency procedures for residents, are registered nurses on the property at all times? Ask about the night staff to resident ratio.
Cost – What is the entry cost and monthly cost? Is the facility all-inclusive, or will you be charged extra for add-on services? What are the sizes of rooms available?
In the selection process of deciding on the best assisted living residence for your family loved one, you should ask yourself if the residence would be one that provides all the comforts, services, and amenities that you would want for your family member.
Benefits of Assisted Living:
Assisted living enables seniors to enjoy social contact, security and support while still maintaining their independence. Other benefits include:
– No further need to maintain a home
– Better nutrition
– Peace of mind
– Increased activity
– Medical care
– Adaptability to senior’s changing needs