Growing old is a part of life. And with growing old, comes a time that you (or your loved one) no longer has the level of independence that they once had. When it is time for your mother or father to get more assistance with life than they used to need, finding the best senior retirement communities for them is a huge decision.
The quality of life that your loved one will get from their retirement housing differs vastly depending on the senior retirement communities they live in. Some senior retirement communities support their patients’ independence and enjoyment of life. Other senior retirement communities just focus on getting through the day. You want your loved one to live in the first kind of assisted living homes.
To help you find the best assisted living community for your loved one, we’ve put together a checklist of things to keep in mind while you take tours of possible senior homes:
Four Tips for Finding the Right Assisted Living Home for a Loved One
- Pay Attention to the How the Staff is Treated
Here’s a secret that spans across every customer-facing industry: Happy employees do better work. This is particularly important with nursing care. When a barista is unhappy with their job, you might get a bad cup of coffee. When a caretaker hates their job, the entire quality of life that their patients get is at stake. If the staff is overworked and underpaid, it will roll down to the care that your loved one gets.
When you take tours of a facility, pay attention to the staff that isn’t just paid to show you the best side of the facility. Pay attention to the workers who don’t know you’re watching. Start a conversation with a facilities employee. Watch the dining staff. To some extent, the staff may be pleasant even if morale is low (and if they aren’t even pleasant, you should run — not walk — for the exit), but you can pick up on the cues if they really enjoy their jobs. Their attitudes will make a huge impact in the comfort and enjoyment that your loved one gets from the retirement community.
- Bring Out the Black Light While Inspecting the Cleanliness of the Facility
Okay, you might get weird looks if you actually bring out a black light. The point is, you should pay close attention to the cleanliness of the facility. Ask about how often the rooms are clean. Peek your head into a room that isn’t part of the tour (maybe a community room, you might not be welcome to just go into residents’ rooms… and if you are, that could be a security concern). If a retirement home is poorly cleaned, it could lead to heightened illnesses for your loved one, and an unpleasant lifestyle there. You want to be confident that your parent is given great living conditions to thrive in.
- Drop By Unexpectedly
The sales rep who takes you on a tour of a assisted living facility is going to show you the best sides of the grounds. That’s their job. You want to make sure that you aren’t presented the only nice 10% of the facility, but are given the unpleasant 90% for your loved one to actually live in. If you drop in unexpectedly, you can ensure that you don’t just get the facade of perfection. We recommend going at a time outside of business hours, just as early evening, when the sales rep is less likely to be around. Just ask for a manager to take you on a walk around the grounds, so you get a feel for it while you aren’t being fed a sales shpeel.
- Look Beyond the Four Walls
Your loved one will spend most of their time inside the senior care facility, but their favorite hours are going to be the ones that are outdoors or off grounds altogether. Make sure that the facility you choose has outdoorsy areas that can really be enjoyed on a daily basis.
If your loved one has the capacity to do so, ask about outtings to go shopping or to the movies. This will be something that your loved one will really be glad they have available to them.
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