Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility for your Aging Loved Ones

Assisted Living

Seniors are usually hesitant to make the transition from their homes to an assisted living facility, more so if they are moving to one that’s not a right fit for them.  In a quality assisted living facility, they can will thrive and continue to act independently but in the wrong one, their overall health and wellbeing may be compromised.

We know you only want to entrust your aging loved ones to the best assisted living facility.  But with so many options to choose from, choosing the right institution may seem a daunting task. However, with due diligence on your part, you can narrow down your list of choices. Here are top tips for choosing the best assisted living facility for your aging loved ones.

1. Ask about accreditation.

When visiting an assisted living facility, be sure to ask about accreditation.  You can talk to the property director or other personnel and inquire about accreditation.  Furthermore, it would be prudent if you ask around or do online research about the facility.  You may come across important information that will give an indication that problems have been found in the past.  Check out reputable websites that feature honest reviews of assisted living facilities in your community.

2. Observe how the staff interact with the residents.  

The caregivers in a facility play an important role in making your aging loved one’s transition to his or her new home. When visiting an assisted living facility, observe how the caregivers and other staff interact with the residents.  Do they appear genuinely attentive? Do the staff members know the residents by name?  Do they go out of their way to make the residents feel safe, secure, and comfortable? If you must, visit a few times, unannounced, to get the overall feel of the place.

It is important for you to ascertain if there are enough staff members to assist the residents and to help keep the place spic and span.  Ask what types of caregivers are available on site, if they are able to handle emergency situations, and if the facility has a system in place for evaluating staff performance.

3. Check if the facility is clean and well-maintained.

In order to keep the elderly safe and secure, the whole facility should be clean and well-maintained  During a site visit, determine whether there are issues with cleanliness and upkeep. Common rooms as well as the individual living quarters and bathrooms should be spot clean.  Moreover, do not hesitate to ask about cleaning schedules. 4. Inquire about communication channels.

One of the most important things to consider in an assisted living facility is the availability of communication channels between you and the facility’s staff.  You would want a facility that will readily notify you of your loved one’s condition and any changes in his or her physical and mental health.  Before deciding on a facility, you need to determine if the management encourages transparency and communication between the residents’ family and the caregivers. You need to know who makes the decisions in the assisted living facility and whom to contact if you have questions regarding medical care, emergency protocols and other concerns.  

5. Ask about nutrition services.

A good assisted living facility should be able to handle the residents’ food and nutritional needs.  You want your aging loved one to meet their dietary requirements at all times.  During your consultation with management of assisted living facilities, you need to ascertain if they are equipped to provide for their residents’ nutritional needs and if they allow special dietary requests, including cultural and ethnic cuisines.  

It is also important for you to know who handles meal planning and preparation, and how often meals are served. And more importantly, ask if meals are served in the rooms or in the common dining area because you would want a facility that encourages social dining. If you can, ask the residents if the food is any good and if they are encouraged to eat with other residents.

6. Survey if the residential units are safe, well-ventilated, well-lit, and spacious.

Your loved one should have a room that’s comfortable, safe, and secure.  While there may be different options available depending on the budget, a residential unit should be appealing, spacious, and provides for adequate lighting and ventilation.  Check for any safety hazards like gaps in the flooring or uneven carpeting. Find out if they have installed grab bars in the bathroom or if they have emergency call buttons and fire sprinklers strategically placed in the rooms.

7. Factor in activities and visiting schedules.

For your aging loved ones to transition well in an assisted living community, the institution should provide for appropriate social activities and visiting schedules.  The activities should encourage the elderly to socialize and build new relationships and friendships with other residents while allowing some flexibility for solitary activities and individual preferences.  

If you feel it’s time to look for an assisted living facility for your loved one, you’ve come to the right place.  Our website maintains a searchable database of assisted living facilities in Maryland and other states.  To use this site’s search feature, just enter your desired location in the search box and click on the search icon.


Photo Credit: By Your side Home Care

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