Elder Care: What to Know When Choosing a Facility

A physical therapist helps an elderly man get around with a walker.

If you need an assisted living facility for a loved one, you’ll need to look beyond the fresh façade and welcoming intake team. Learning more about the way the facility functions, the way it cares for and supports residents and the care it takes when hiring staffers can help you make an informed decision for your loved one. An older person heading to an assisted living facility is already making a major change and needs additional support for the transition; if your senior has memory care issues, you’ll need to be even more careful about the location you choose.

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Facility

Who works here?

You need to look beyond the person who takes you on a tour and the model home or area you’ve viewed. The people who will have the biggest impact on your senior are the staffers who handle day to daycare. Who are these people, how well is the location staffed and what roles do they play in your loved one’s care? If your senior has medical needs or dementia, is the staff able to cope with their regular needs and care? Do the staff members you see when you visit treat the residents with respect and care? No matter how nice the facility looks, the people who work there will be the ones with the biggest impact on your loved one’s quality of life.

What Activities and Care are Offered?

What does life look like each day for a resident? Are there regular outings for shopping, exercise, social gatherings and fun? A paper schedule isn’t enough; you should see regular signs of activity and seniors arriving and leaving via provided transportation. For those who can’t or don’t wish to leave the facility, are there onsite opportunities to engage with others, be entertained or simply enjoy a good quality of life? Seniors differ in their needs and abilities, but you should see signs of healthy activity and happy, content seniors.

Is the Facility Well Maintained?

Every place you visit should be clean and well organized; unclean conditions can lead to severe health hazards and contribute to the spread of illness through the elderly population. Is the facility itself secure – no one should be able to come in without authorization, and while competent elderly residents should be able to come and go as they please, the facility needs to be secure enough to prevent wandering or elopement by an individual with memory issues or dementia. For those with memory issues, a secure facility also ensures that residents can’t access unsafe areas like the kitchen and that there is enough supervision to ensure that residents can interact safely with one another.

What Do Other Caregivers Think?

You’ll need to check some references from the facility and talk to real people who have entrusted the care of their loved ones to the organization you are considering. Looking beyond testimonials and advertising materials and speaking to real residents and family members gives you some insight into how well the facility cares for residents and what your experience will be like.

In an ideal world, you’ll find the perfect facility for your loved one, and they’ll enjoy a stress-free, peaceful setting where they can safely interact with their peers. Choosing a good facility in the first place and visiting regularly can help ensure your loved one is being cared for properly.

If you have concerns about a facility you are using and are worried about your nursing home elder abuse, we can help. Contact Branch & Dhillon Injury Attorneys to learn more about your options if you suspect an assisted living facility is not treating your loved one with care and respect; we’re here to help you help your senior stay safe and healthy.