Making the decision to move an elderly family member into a nursing home or assisted living home is very difficult. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are in higher demand every day with the quickly aging population of baby boomers. According to Evans Senior Investments, the baby boomers are beginning to reach retirement years, and the amount of elderly people will continue to grow with almost 90 million individuals projected to be of retirement age by the year 2050. This is having an impact on assisted living centers and nursing homes across the country. So with such a big decision on where a loved one should live, how does one choose one facility over another? Here are a few helpful tips to consider when touring various nursing and assisted living homes.
Landscaping & Maintenance
Although this may sound trivial, taking a tour around the facility to look at the overall maintenance and livelihood of the landscaping can be a healthy indicator of the overall cleanliness of a facility. Are there fresh flowers in the warm months? Is the facility lawn nicely cut and does it have ample green space for residents to be outdoors?
Availability of On-Site Medical Staff
It is good to ask what kind of medical supervision is available when touring a nursing home or assisted living facility. Many assisted living homes will offer various physical therapy classes, or even speech therapy. Many facilities will include recreational therapy such as swimming or light stretching. Is there medical staff available all hours of the night? Is there a physician on site at all times to provide medication as needed? It is important to have these medical questions answered in the preliminary stages of picking a nursing home or assisted living home for the elderly family member.
As a caring family member, it is important to know what kinds of restrictions or limitations there are for visiting hours. Assisted living facilities may have more flexibility in their visiting hours than nursing homes, but that is why it is important to check up front. Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities will encourage visitors on a regular basis, as this positively impacts the resident's overall mental health and well-being. Check out the overall security of the facility as well. Are the exterior doors locked during non-visiting hours? It is important to know how safe and secure the facility is.
When going on a tour of a facility in an assisted living center, ask for a copy of their event calendar. Most quality assisted living centers will have a plethora of activities that their residents can choose to be a part of. Game nights, exercise classes, craft activities, and even talent shows are all events that might be offered that residents can take part in. A well-organized event calendar is a good indication that the facility managers care about their residents and are concerned about their emotional and mental well-being.
The decision to look at an assisted living facility or nursing home for an elderly family member can be a daunting task. It is encouraged to go on tours of several different facilities and get a sense for how each facility operates and takes care of its residents. Keeping these simple tips in mind can aid in this difficult process.