It is easy to be fooled by fancy drapery or expensive furniture that may decorate a care facility. Even though a facility looks high class doesn't always mean the care provided is first class. The following are just a few simple guidelines to follow when selecting either a nursing home or an assisted living facility:
1. Talk with people in the community who are familiar with the facility you are looking at. Get their opinions and feedback.
2. In order to get the feel of the residents and their activity level, tour the facility during meals times, or right before or after a meal. Activity level is usually higher during these times. This will give you a general idea of the atmosphere and the quality of food being served. Great meals are one of the lasting enjoyments our seniors have.
3. Pay attention to the residents in the facility. Do they appear to be happy? Unhappy residents could indicate their needs are not being met properly. Do the caregivers know the residents by name? Is there adequate interaction between caregiver and resident?
4. If you have concerns about the facility, don't be afraid to ask the staff questions and voice any concerns you may have. Did you receive adequate answers? Was the staff professional? Ask the administrator about the staff turnover rate. If it's high, ask for the reasons why.
5. Examine all license and state or county inspection results for the facility. Each facility is required to display these items. A facility with little or no deficiencies is most likely a facility that wants to get the job done right the first time.
6. Research the facility using resources on the internet such as the Nursing Home Compare at www.medicare.gov or view license and enforcement action information with the appropriate state agency.
7. Trust your instinct. If you feel uncomfortable about a facility, there is a reason why. If a second unscheduled visit yields the same uneasy feeling, go with your gut feeling.
Overall, being familiar with a few simple guidelines will help make your selection process much easier. Selecting a care facility for a loved one is a very important decision. The care your loved one receives will ultimately affect their quality of life. In the end, if you cannot see yourself living in a certain facility you're visiting, then chances are you shouldn't place your loved one there either.
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Torey Farnsworth has over 12 years of experience working with seniors. Ms. Farnsworth's vast expertise encompasses a wide variety of senior issues ranging from adult care to elder law. Most recently, Torey served as Elder Law Director and Paralegal for a Phoenix based law firm where she provided assistance in a variety of areas including long term care planning, estate planning, ALTCS eligibility and Medicaid planning. Ms. Farnsworth is also a certified caregiver with the State of Arizona as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. Ms. Farnsworth has spent her career in senior care as her family owns and operates assisted living homes.
Ms. Farnsworth owns and operates a senior care placement business in Arizona called Horizon Senior Care Referral. Her placement services are free to seniors and their families. For information on placement services in Arizona, visit http://adultcarecentral.com/