I bet I get calls weekly from people who ask about what to look for in an assisted living or long term care facility. The first thing I tell them is to enlist the help of your five senses:
1. Sight – How do the people look? Do they look happy? Are they clean and dressed appropriately? Is the place clean? Are they licensed?
2. Smell – This is a big one. Does the place smell clean? Is there an odor of urine? I always love it when I give tours and the first thing people comment on is the fact that the building smells good. We work really hard to keep the place smelling good and that involves making certain residents are clean and that the trash is removed quickly.
3. Hearing – What sounds do you hear? Do the staff interact appropriately with the residents? Do they call them by their names? Are there activities going on? Do they sound like they’re having a good time? What are other residents saying about the place? Are people being summoned on an overhead paging system? This is something we don’t do because we are reminded that this is their home and as such, we need to treat it like their homes and be cognizant to that fact.
4. Taste – It is really important to taste the food. This is one thing residents look for and the one thing they complain about if it isn’t good.
5. Feeling – Does the place feel too cold or too hot. I always remind our staff to remember that we work in the resident’s homes, they don’t live in our workplace. At Argent Court each apartment has their own unit so residents can have it as hot or cold as they like.
Some other things to look for and ask about is what exactly can they handle in terms of care. People assume when they place a loved one in an assisted living community or long term care facility they are done. They will never have to do anything else. This is why it is so important to ask questions up front about what they can and cannot handle in terms of care.
I always tell people it is prudent to start looking for long term care options BEFORE you need them. So often people don’t start looking until they are in a crisis. At that point you risk not having an adequate amount of time to make an educated decision. Further, you may pick a community that does not have an opening.
If you have long term care insurance, you need to review your policy and make certain you know what it covers. I have seen numerous cases where people are very disappointed to find their policy may not cover what they thought it covered. You are always welcome to contact us and have us review your policy with you. Most policies for assisted living require a person to have needs for assistance with two activities of daily living. You need to know what those requirements are.
In summary, be an educated consumer. Feel free to contact us and allow us to help you. We are here to help.