Choosing the right retirement community for your loved one
When selecting a care facility for your parent or loved one, it can become overwhelming with all of the different choices. There are a wide variety of retirement communities and it’s best to spend some time in getting to know a community before deciding that it’s the best choice.
First, do some research on what type of facility you will want to tour. Are you looking at full nursing care, or are you mostly interested in learning about an assisted living facility? Or, are you wanting independent living with the option of a full continuum of care if/when your loved one needs more care than what independent living offers?
Once you have narrowed these options, it’s time to take the tour. To get started, call the marketing office and schedule a time to meet with a community representative. Try to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled tour time so that you are able to observe what is going on before your guided tour. Be prepared to take notes and ask plenty of questions.
While on your guided tour, observe everything you can. Note how people are interacting with residents, do they seem happy? Look for signage; is it clear and easily understood? Is there an activity calendar and are there diverse activities for residents to enjoy? There should not be any lingering unpleasant smell, if there is, it may be an indication of improper care. Note residents’ appearances. Are they wearing jewelry or clean clothing? Consider the common spaces are they homey and inviting?
Once the tour is complete ask to sit down with the marketing representative to go over your questions that were not addressed during the tour. Ask if the community is a for-profit or not-for-profit. Is the facility faith based? How many beds does the full nursing care setting have? How are transfers handled from one level of care to the next? What is the staff-to-resident ratio? Which physicians visit and how often? What does the residency application look like and what is involved? You may want to ask for a copy of the agreements or contracts to take home with you to share with your family and attorney.
After your tour, compare what you liked and disliked about the community. Remember to visit several facilities and visit the ones you liked best at different times of the day and on the weekend. Listen to your gut! Your impressions will be strong. This is a very important decision and insist that you get all of the information you need before making it.
For more information, please visit www.icaregiver.org.