Finding an assisted living facility for your elderly loved one can be quite challenging. You only want the best senior care provider there is for the price you and your family can afford. But despite the weeks and even months of painstaking research, consultations, and site visits before you finally decided on a facility, there might be warning signs or red flags you failed to notice. Missing red flags could put your senior parent or relative at risk for injury and bad care so here are warning signs you should watch out for.
The Assisted Living Facility has been subject to disciplinary actions.
Assisted living facilities are being regulated by the state. So if a facility has been found to provide substandard care to its residents, appropriate agencies would have a record of the violations and what disciplinary actions were taken against the facility. It is very important to know an assisted living facility’s history so that you will know if they have violated any laws in the past few years.
The Assisted Living Facility is unable to retain its staff.
A high rate of staff turnover is always a red flag. When you are visiting your elderly loved one at an assisted living facility, take note if there are a lot of new faces among the staff members or if you no longer see some of the personnel you’re familiar with.
There could be a number of reasons behind a high rate of staff turnover – low pay, poor management style, and heavy workload, to name a few. It is important that you ask about the staff members, especially the key ones, because they will be taking care of your beloved senior. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to have your aging loved one stay at an assisted living facility whose employees are unhappy, overworked, and underpaid.
The staff members avoid or deflect questions pertaining to your loved one’s care.
Staff members who are directly involved in the care of your loved one should be able to answer your questions. When visiting the assisted living facility, consider asking the staff questions relevant to your loved one’s care. If a staff member deflects your questions or are unable to answer them, request to speak with his or her immediate superior or the facility director. If your concerns remain unresolved, this is a telling sign that the facility may not be the right fit for your senior family member.
Your family member complains about the care she receives or about the staff members.
While it is true that your loved one may be unhappy with his or her move to the assisted living facility, the feelings of unhappiness usually resolve after the adjustment period. However, if your loved one complains about the kind of care the staff gives or the complaint concerns a specific staff member, seek clarification. Complaints need to be taken seriously because these are potential indicators of abuse or neglect within the facility. Ask to speak with the facility director and air your complaints so your concerns will be addressed immediately.
If your loved one has cognitive problems, watch out for nonverbal cues such as anxiety, fear, anger, or discomfort when a staff member is mentioned or when the concerned personnel enters the room.
Your gut instincts tell you the facility is not the right fit for your loved one.
Your gut instincts should never be ignored. Your body has a way of communicating with you and your intuition is a powerful tool that warns you if something is off or doesn’t feel right.
If your instincts tell you that a facility or the staff members can’t be trusted with the care of your loved one, take heed. Only place your parent or relative in a facility that you trust from the beginning.
You observe changes in your loved one’s behavior and other indicators of physical and emotional abuse.
When visiting your parent or relative, watch out for signs of emotional and physical distress. Ask questions and investigate thoroughly if his or her condition deteriorates or if you see marked changes in your loved ones emotional state. Be concerned if your mom or dad is withdrawn or is suddenly uncooperative because these may be signs of neglect or abuse. Assess for changes in weight, eating and sleeping patterns, and mood swings. And more importantly, watch out for signs of neglect and physical abuse such as unexplained bruises,welts, redness, especially in unexposed areas of the body.
The facility personnel are disorganized and inefficient.
The best way to observe how efficient the staff members of your loved one’s assisted facility are is to drop by unannounced or visit when they least expect you to. By doing so, you will be able to observe how they go about their responsibilities and manage the residents during routine activities.
Be concerned if the staff shows signs of inefficiency during activities and meal times or if the residents’ surroundings are unkempt. Observe for unanswered phone calls and call lights because these are telltale signs that the staff are either too busy or too disengaged to care. Should you observe the staff displaying undesirable behavior, speak to tthe management immediately to voice out your concerns because your loved one may be receiving bad care.
Furthermore, ask your parent or relative if someone comes to his or her assistance immediately if the call button is pushed. The staff should be very responsive to patient-initiated call lights.
An assisted living facility should be able to provide your senior loved one with an environment that facilitates emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual wellbeing. It should be a safe place where the elderly can enjoy themselves, learn new things, and build new relationships.
At SSMAPS, we always encourage caregivers to take time doing research when looking for nursing homes or assisted living facilities for their aging parent or relative. This is the reason why, as one of our services, we maintain a well-curated database of facilities and senior care providers in the United States. This search feature is free and easy to use and allows you to access the profile pages of all the elderly care providers listed in our directory.