As lifespans and average ages have increased, the number of senior living facilities in the United States has skyrocketed. While competition and consumer choice have created some great living spaces, choosing the right facility can seem like an overwhelming task.
Fortunately, making the right choice isn’t too difficult when you approach the process with a few key considerations in mind. If you’re searching for a senior living facility for yourself or a loved one, be sure to ask yourself (and your parents) the following questions as you take your tours.
What is the food like?
Food may not like seem like a major concern while you’re on a tour, but your parents are going to be eating in the dining hall for years to come. The quality and variety of the food can also be a good indicator of the level of care and attention to detail the staff puts into the rest of the facility.
What’s more, simply sitting down to a meal can give you a great feel for the place as a whole. Is the atmosphere friendly, are the staff polite, and are the residents’ needs taken care of? Mealtimes are great opportunities to answer these questions.
What activities are available?
From sports to social outings to religious services, most senior facilities offer a wide array of activities. However, there’s often a big difference between what’s on paper and what actually occurs, and turnout can determine the quality of an event. Try to schedule your tours at times when at least a couple of activities are scheduled to take place.
What medical services are available?
Depending upon your loved ones’ medical conditions, it may be important to have nurses or even a primary care physician onsite. This is an especially important consideration for seniors with diabetes, high blood pressure or other conditions that require daily monitoring.
Who else lives there?
Senior facilities are home to people from all walks of life, and it’s important that your loved ones find other residents with whom they’ll enjoy spending time. If they’re religious, they may also want to find people with common beliefs.
Are the rooms clean and neat?
Any worthwhile facility will have well-kept grounds and clean public spaces. If possible, try to look at the living units themselves and gauge how well the staff keeps them tidy. How often is housekeeping provided, and what services do the housekeepers perform? Are additional cleaning services such as laundry included?
How friendly are the staff?
A facility’s employees can make or break the residents’ experience. From dining staff to housekeepers to nurses, make note of their attentiveness, attitudes and professionalism. Ask yourself whether you would hire them directly to take care of your aging parents. Oftentimes, the most strongly opinionated reviews–both positive and negative–focus on their performance.
Will the facility provide for current and future needs?
More often than not, seniors’ needs change throughout their stay at a facility. Your parent may require minimal help when they enter, but what happens if they need extra assistance, nursing care or even help with eating and bathing?
Many facilities offer “continuing care” plans, which guarantee higher levels of care in the event of future health problems. These plans tend to cost more upfront, but they often result in significant long-term savings and greater peace of mind. If you don’t contract for a continuing care plan, make sure you understand which services will be available if the need arises–and how much extra they’ll cost.
What do other residents have to say?
Even if you ask all the right questions, it can be tough to get a feel for what life at a facility will really be like. Fortunately, residents are usually more than happy to talk about their own experiences. Ask them what they like, what they dislike and if they’re happy with their choice to live there. Likewise, read online reviews to learn more about the experiences of not just residents, but of the adult children who helped them find their new homes.
How does the place make you feel?
Ultimately, you can’t judge a facility by its price, amenities or the selling points advertised in brochures. The right questions will guide you toward a few top choices, but the way your loved ones feel as they tour the facility and talk to residents should be the deciding factor.
If you’re looking for a facility for your family members, contact Fisher-Titus to learn more about The Carriage House and schedule a tour today!