To get the right answers you need to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions is especially important when choosing the right care facility for your parent or loved ones.
Here are some of the more important questions to ask when looking at assisted care facilities:
- Staff: Always ask to meet with the staff who will be caring for your loved one. If they are not on duty come back at another time. These are the people who will be caring for your loved one, so you need to feel comfortable with them and believe they are the right ones for the job. Ask about their qualifications and their experience. Find out what they do each day for the residents in their charge. It is important that you also meet with the house manager and the floor manager, as these are the staff members who set the tone for the facility as a whole.
- Food: Some people forget to ask about food but it is so important. You need to know that the food being served to your loved one is nutritious, well prepared and will be to their liking. Ask to see a menu and a meal plan for the next seven days. You should get to see the kitchens and the dining rooms. If your loved one has a special diet or particular dietary needs this is the time to ensure that the facility can provide it. Ask to eat a meal and see what you think.
- Activities: Every assisted care facility should have a schedule of activities for the residents to participate in, and it should be a red flag if activities are not available. The care facility should provide a schedule of both physical and mental activity for the residents to take part in daily. Consider your loved one and how the activities offered will suit their needs. If your parent or loved one needs a lot of activities, then make sure that the facility you are considering provides the right stimulation for them. Watching TV is not an activity.
- Who are the other residents: This is so important for the social life of your loved one. Find out the age profile of the other residents, to see what they have in common with your loved one. Are they parents and grandparents too? What sort of career did they have prior to retirement? Are they interested in sports or maybe they like to discuss favorite books just like your Mom does? By building up a profile of fellow residents you will get a good idea if the facility will be a fit for your loved one.
- Medical Access: If your loved requires medical care or may do so in the future, it is always good to know what level of access the assisted care home provides. Do they have a resident nurse? Do they have a doctor on call 24/7 to respond to any medical matters? Do they have a fixed protocol for getting a resident to hospital if the need arises? Ask how close the nearest hospital is or where the doctor on call is based. Medical access is vital in case of an emergency or even if there is a change in a loved one’s condition, so you need to be happy with what is provided.
- The Care Level: Is the home the right fit for your loved one. Can they provide the right level of care for your loved one’s day to day living needs? Do they administer medicines? Do they pay attention to their resident’s hygiene and eating habits and make changes in care levels accordingly?
- The Facility: Ensure that you get a full tour of the facility. Ask to see bedrooms, activity rooms, kitchens, social areas and dining rooms. Have a look at the laundry and see how they care for resident’s clothes and bedding. Does the home look and feel clean? Are there any unpleasant smells that linger and is the air fresh all day?
These are some of the key questions you need to ask. Most importantly, make sure you ask as many questions as you need to, in order to feel comfortable making a decision on the assisted care facility you are visiting. Always schedule a tour and do a follow-up one too. Remember, you’re trusting the facility with the care and safety of your loved one, so it has to meet all your requirements.