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How to Compare Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities are becoming more popular as many adults are living to greater ages without as many medical problems as previous generations did. Deciding to choose an assisted living facility can be a difficult decision for many senior citizens as well as their loved ones. However, knowing how to compare these facilities to find the best option for an individual can help many to feel more comfortable with their decisions.

Benefits of Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living is the perfect answer for people who need more care than they would receive in their own homes but less help than they would receive at a nursing home. Assisted living has many benefits. First, it is set up to look as much like one’s own home as possible. Although there are some semi-private rooms, most rooms are completely private and have a living and sleeping area as well as a bathroom.

Second, assisted living offers seniors and their family members peace of mind. Children and grandchildren may begin to worry that elderly parents and grandparents could fall or otherwise hurt themselves in their own homes and be unable to get help. Others worry that seniors will forget to take important medications or may accidentally take too many medications. Assisted living is the answer to these problems because there will be caregivers available at all hours of the day to provide this type of assistance.

Third, assisted living allows married couples to continue to live together. These couples will be able to feel more at home than they would in a nursing home where rooms are less private. Staying with one’s spouse, even if one spouse is healthier than the other is, provides a desirable sense of love and companionship.

Fourth, assisted living provides help with activities of daily living. These include such activities as cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundering of clothes, walking and changing clothes in the morning and evening. Of course, the amount of help that is given depends on the needs and desires of the individual. Basically, assisted living can be tailored to some degree to an individual’s needs.

Comparison of Caregivers

Finding a facility that has friendly, kind and competent caregivers is one of the most important points to consider when comparing two or more facilities. When visiting the facility, one should feel that the staff, whether they are office staff or medical staff, takes plenty of time to talk to the individual and answer questions thoroughly. The staff should be smiling and should be seen to have friendly interactions with the residents who already live there. It is also important to note the ratio of staff to residents and the number of nurses who are on duty throughout the day.

Comparison of Quality of Services That Are Offered

Every facility offers a different array of services. Some may be necessities for an individual while others are only an added convenience or may be seen as unnecessary. In many cases, this is a personal preference. However, each facility offers some medical care. Medical staff will be available at all hours of the day for emergencies. Other than the options already listed, typical assisted living service include transportation, security, exercise equipment or gyms and social activities, games and outings.

Comparison of Prices

Cost is one of the major comparisons that are made between facilities. Costs can differ greatly based on how old or new the facility is, on how many extra services are offered, on the level of privacy of the rooms and on the types of insurance that are accepted there. In addition, the prices of various facilities may look vastly different based on their billing method. For example, some bill a flat fee per day while others bill extra for a variety of services.

Comparison of Indoor and Outdoor Facilities

Besides looking at private versus semi-private rooms, individuals interested in assisted living should look at the quality of the indoor and outdoor spaces. Are the rooms modern, and do they appear to be cared for well? Are the grounds beautiful and well maintained? Is there space to take walks or participate in other outdoor activities? Is there a chapel, library or game room in the facility? The most important point is that the facility should feel like home.

Additional Tips

Those who are visiting assisted living facilities need to ask themselves a series of questions to determine if this is the best spot for a loved one. In fact, it is often helpful to write specific questions on a checklist and to bring the list along on the tour. Typical questions may include specifics about prices, meals, weekly activities, visiting hours, medical supervision and state regulations. Individuals should also be sure to question the facility about their rules regarding increasing fees.

As a child or grandchild, it can often be difficult to know when the time has come for a loved one to move into an assisted living facility. However, there are common signs that indicate this need. Some include increasing forgetfulness, messiness in a previously neat house, depression, decreasing personal hygiene or any other type of new and unusual behavior.
The best way to make one’s rooms in an assisted living facility seem homey is to add as many personal touches as possible. Although most facilities do not allow major changes such as painting or window treatments, seniors will want to display their own pictures and bring their own bedding and furniture. Bursts of color are important in making the rooms seem cheerful.

Assisted living facilities are often the best choice for older adults who need a little help around their homes but who are still able to function independently in most areas. These facilities provide constant access to medical care in a homey, comfortable atmosphere. Knowing what to look for in assisted living will give seniors, as well as their loved ones, the information they need to make a wise decision.

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