Making the decision to move to an Assisted Living Facility, often referred to as ALF, is a big step but it is only one step of a long journey! Now you have to determine which facility is best for you and suits your needs. Chances are you have consulted with your family and physician in arriving at the decision to move to an ALF so be sure to seek their help in finding the right facility. If you have friends or family that have moved to an ALF, be sure and ask for a recommendation and how they decided on the facility they chose.
Here are some considerations in choosing an Assisted Living Facility:
- Does the facility provide the type of health care assistance you will require? Not all ALFs offer the same medical assistance so be sure and inquire about your specific needs.
- Is the facility located in
an area you want to live? You are
choosing a place to live so location is
Renaissance Care Center Living Room (Photo credit: cantexsc)
- Can you afford the
facility? Assisted Living
Facilities can be expensive and they do not all charge the same
rates. Be sure and they accept
Medicaid or have payment options.
Also, there may be additional fees for services so inquire what the
monthly fee covers and what is extra.
- What type of community services and amenities are included? If you have trouble driving, make sure the ALF provides transportation and ask if it is an additional charge. Also inquire if there is a beautician/barber on site.
- Inquire into social and recreational activities provided by the facility. Ask to speak with the social director and get a calendar of events. Be sure to inquire as to how many residents participate. You should also ask if there are community volunteers that visit regularly—many community volunteer programs visit Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes as part of their mission.
- You also need to know the
limits of care the facility can provide you and the type of behavior they
will permit. This is important as
you may be asked to leave if you require more care than a facility can
provide or if your behavior is not in line with the facilities tolerance
level. You should inquire if anyone
has been “evicted” and what the circumstances were—it is at Managements’
Crestview Court Therapy Room (Photo credit: cantexsc)
- Does the facility provide different types of accommodations? Some ALFs have apartment type suites, one and two room suites and some have limited cooking in your room. Make sure the building itself is easy to navigate and the overall floor plan of the facility is not confusing!
- Take note of the state of repair of the facility. Is it clean, neat and well kept? Have there been recent updates to the facility?
- Does the facility offer advanced care in another section of the facility that you may need one day? Today, there are many multi-function facilities which include Dementia care, Alzheimer’s Units and Skilled Nursing Units (Nursing Home).
You need to keep in mind that Assisted Living is usually a short-term solution for many people who do not yet need the services of a Nursing Home. It is often a very affordable alternative to in-home care and can provide a social environment that most seniors need to maintain a healthy and active life. Be sure and visit several facilities so you can compare. Create a check list out of the considerations listed above so you can keep score as you visit the different facilities. As you visit, try to do so during the week before or after the noon meal so you can judge the “normal” level of activity of the residents—weekends are usually busier as families tend to visit more on weekends. During your visit, try and speak to as many staff and residents as possible. Ask questions that concern you as both staff and residents will be very open. Finally, make sure you have someone read the contract for you—if you make the wrong decision you want to be able to move. If you would like to obtain a list of assisted living facilities in your area that meet your needs, please consider www.seniorfacilityfinder.com .
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about.
We look forward to reading yours.
Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of www.seniorfacilityfinder.com. At SeniorFacilityFinder.com, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If you find you need a Assisted Living Facility or other type of senior facility, please consider www.seniorfacilityfinder.com.