What to look out for when touring an assisted living facility

by Lori Thomas

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There are many difficult decisions to be made when an elderly loved one is in need of assistance managing their day-to-day life. If you do not have the time or resources to take care of them, an assisted living facility can be a great option for continuing care of an elderly loved one. However, even after the decision has been made to choose an assisted living facility for a loved one’s care, there are still decisions to be made regarding which facility you will choose. Conducting a tour of an assisted living facility is an important step in making this decision. By keeping a few things in mind, you can make a more informed decision and choose a facility that will help your loved one continue to enjoy their life while receiving the assistance that they need with everyday activities.

Assisted living is an option in which your loved one still retains some measure of independence while receiving help with certain activities. These activities may include the management of meals, medication, bathing and dressing, and transportation. Assisted living facilities also typically provide residents with options for socializing with others and activities that they can enjoy.

There are currently over 31,000 assisted living facilities in the United States. This care option is one of the fastest growing, as it accommodates the needs of those seniors who do not want to give up their independence entirely, but who still need some measure of support in going about their daily activities.

Another important factor to watch out for is the staff to resident ratio of the assisted living facility, as well as the average type and level of training of staff members. Assess whether or not there are enough staff on hand to meet the needs of your loved one, and whether they have the appropriate level of training necessary to provide your loved one with the level of care that they need.

Your tour of the facility is your first chance to meet the staff and to gauge their attitudes toward their patients. A friendly, helpful staff that is eager to show you around and inform you about day-to-day life in the facility is a staff that will continue to show this level of care to your loved one once they make the decision to stay at the facility.

Of course, it is always a good idea while taking a tour of a facility to determine whether it is clean, well-kept, and to get a first-hand look at the types of technology and facilities that they have available. Be sure to take a look at the living quarters available for residents while on a tour, to determine whether they have everything that your loved one will require for a safe and comfortable stay. Pay attention to factors such as the facilities available in their bathrooms. Do they have handrails or seating in their showers, if necessary? Will their facilities grant your loved one some measure of independence during their stay? Remember to also take the time to tour the grounds and the outside facilities that are available.

During your tour, it can also be a good idea to sit down and to have a meal with the residents to see what the food is like. Be sure to speak with staff about meals if there are any special considerations that must be made for your loved one, such as dietary restrictions.

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