Everything you need to know about Assisted Living

Everything you need to know about Assisted Living

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After you’re done reading this article, you will have a better grasp of what assisted living represents, which services you can expect to find in assisted living communities, which of those are useful for your needs, and what to pay attention for when looking for an assisted living community.

What Does Assisted Living Represent?

Assisted living is a type of housing center that caters to people in need of different types and levels of medical and personal care. These centers house individual rooms, shared rooms, or apartments. Most assisted living facilities usually offer a familiar, home-like surroundings, and are designed in such a way to foster their residents’ independence and individuality. Various types of services are provided to residents at these facilities, designed to provide assistance to residents in their day-to-day activities.

Which Services Do Assisted Living Facilities Offer?

Assisted Living Facilities provide various types of services, and while most of them will have the same services, they vary from one facility to another. The services that are typically offered are:

  • 24/7 emergency care
  • Personal care, which includes help with dressing up and bathing
  • One to three daily meals
  • Medication monitoring
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Certain level of medical services
  • Social and recreational activities

Which of These Services Do You Need?

You should have a lengthy conversation with your family and caregivers to get a better grasp of which services you will need. Don’t rush into deciding, and write down which services are essential to your well-being before you go visit any assisted living facility. While there are many aspects you should consider, these are the most crucial questions you should ask yourself:

  • Why should I change my living arrangements?
  • Which day-to-day activities are hard to do own my own (dressing, bathroom, eating, bathing, medications)?
  • To which degree do I need help?

What Do I Need to Pay Attention to?

Furthermore, you should also find answers to the following questions before you make your visit to the assisted living facility. Discuss the following questions with your family:

General questions

  • Does the assisted living facility have a license?
  • Which kind of insurance does the facility provide for personal property?
  • What is their usual response to medical emergencies?
  • When are their visiting hours?

Costs, Contracts, Finances, etc.

  • Does the contract offer accommodation, personal and health care, in addition to support services?
  • At what point can you terminate your contract and is there a refund policy?
  • Does the facility offer additional services to facilitate any changes to the resident’s needs?
  • What are the costs for temporary services (nursing care), and how is the payment process like?
  • Are there any and how do the costs differ for various levels of services?
  • Do any government, private, or corporate programs exists that would provide full or partial costs coverage?
  • What are the facilities’ billing, payment, and credit policies?
  • Will the resident be able to take care of their finances on with staff members, if possible, or should their family or private contractor be contacted for this?

Staffing

  • Have staff members received proper training?
  • What is the staff turnover like?
  • What is the staff attitude like? Are they warm and outgoing?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do staff members interact with residents on first name-basis and in warm manner?
  • Are staff members available at all times?
  • Do staff members provide assistance with memory, orientation, or judgement losses?

Residents and General Atmosphere

  • Are there any social activities within the facility, and do residents that are already present appear happy with their surroundings?
  • What do visitors, residents, and volunteers have to say about the facility?
  • Do residents already at the facility look like someone you will be able to live with you?
  • Are residents at the facility in similar mental, and physical condition as you are?

Overall Design of the Facility

  • Is the facility’s appearance and its surroundings to your taste?
  • Do you like the décor?
  • Are there any confusing floor plans?
  • Are the doorways, hallways, and rooms wheelchair or walker-accessible?
  • Does the facility have elevators and handrails?
  • Are cupboards and shelves easily accessible?
  • Is the facility and its rooms adequately illuminated?
  • What is the hygiene like? Are the floors, hallways, and rooms clean, odorless, and what is the temperature control like?

Health Care and Medication

How does the facility store medication?
Do they provide assistance with medications, as well as medication record-keeping?
Do they allow medication to be administered on your own?
Who is in charge of nurse, physical, occupational therapist, or some other kind of specialist coordination?
Do physicians or nurses provide regular visits for medical checkups?
Which pharmacy do they work with? Do they provide medications delivery?

Services

  • Can staff members provide 24/7 assistance with daily tasks and activities? These include:

        - Dressing
        - Personal hygiene and grooming
        - Bathing and toileting
        - Telephone usage
        - Eating
        - Shopping
        - Moving around the facility
        - Laundry
        - Personal unit housekeeping
        - Personal transportation
        - Medications delivery

Personal units

  • Do they have different types and sizes of personal units?
  • Are those units for a single person or more?
  • Do residents have locks on the doors?
  • Is there a 24/7 emergency response system available nearby?
  • Do their bathrooms offer any privacy and are they wheelchair and walkers accessible?
  • Are residents allowed to bring their own furniture and if so, what can they bring?
  • Is there a telephone and cable TV in all units and what is the billing like?
  • Do units have a kitchen with a refrigerator, sink, and cooking elements?
  • Are residents allowed to store food in their units?
  • Can residents smoke in their units and/or public areas?

Social Activities

  • Does the facility have any social or recreational activities programs?
  • Are residents able to take part in local or neighboring communities’ activities?
  • Can volunteers and/or family members come to the facility to help with programs?
  • Are residents required to do any chores or activities that are to the benefit to the rest of the residents?
  • Can residents bring their pets into the facility and, if yes, who is responsible for pet care?
  • Does the facility have its own pets?

Food Services

  • Does the facility provide three meals a day, seven days a week?
  • Are snacks allowed and available?
  • Do residents have access to special foods and diets?
  • Are there any common dining areas?
  • Can residents take and eat their meals in their own units?
  • Are meals available at all times or meal times are fixed?
  • Can they provide physician nutrition orders?

Miscellaneous

  • Does the facility have a written care plan for individual residents?
  • How is a resident’s need for service assessed? Are their needs periodically reassessed?
  • Will the resident be discharged from the facility if he or she doesn’t follow the care plan?

We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.

Call: 800-997-1342

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darko Siracevski

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