One of the most important decisions a senior and their family will make is where that senior will live for their remaining years. Research has shown that the majority of seniors wish to remain in their homes through end of life. And families want to do all they can to make that happen.
Unfortunately, sometimes remaining in the home is not always possible. Perhaps the location of a senior’s home is too far from family. Maybe the senior requires a caregiver to be with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that care is unaffordable.
Perhaps the home is not safe – too many stairs, hallways or rooms too difficult to navigate, or too cluttered. Perhaps the home has become too difficult to manage – excessive yard work or too much deferred maintenance.
When this happens it’s difficult for families to know what the next best alternative might be.
Whether you contact Elder Answers for help, or find care assisted living communities or care homes on your own, the checklist below will help when you visit. It’s also a good idea to visit more than once and at different times of the day.
Physical Building and Grounds:
How many seniors live in the home or community? Is it the right size for your loved one?
Is the building easy to get around? Are hallways wide enough?
Are there walking areas inside or outside?
Is each resident given an individual plan of care?
What kind of care CAN the community or home provide? What kind of care can the community or home NOT provide? Bedridden, wheelchair bound, use a lift, need injections?
How are medical emergencies handled?
Can a resident stay through end of life? Is hospice care allowed there?
What is the process for assessing a resident before he/she moves in?
Is there a fee/deposit for an assessment or for admission?
Are charges month to month?
Are costs all-inclusive or are there separate fees for care or supplies?
How often can charges increase?
What kind of training/experience does the staff have?
Is there a nurse on staff or on site? RN or LVN? How many hours and days?
Does the staff appear knowledgeable? Warm and caring?
What is the caregiver to resident ratio?
Philosophy and Feel:
What is the assisted living community’s philosophy of care and how is it carried out?
How does the community “feel” to you? Does it feel like somewhere your loved
one will be able to eventually call home?
What are the residents daily schedule?
What kind of activities are there?
Is transportation provided by the retirement community and where in San Diego County do they go?