Knowing your mom is being cared for from the moment she steps into her new home is possible with a little planning and research. Don’t settle for “just okay”. Being prepared is one of the best strategies for finding mom a community you can trust in Lynchburg. To make the process a little easier, use the following assisted living residence checklist. This will guide your questions and concerns as you call or tour places of interest.
Assisted Living Residence Checklist
1. What Levels of Care Do You Offer?
One of the first things you’ll need to decide once you start the process of finding a home for your mom is determining the type of care mom needs. Assisted living residences offer independent living up to 24-hr care.
Many communities offer multiple levels of care, but not all. If mom is younger and still in good health, she likely won’t need much, if any, extra help. A place that offers multiple levels of care allows her to grow in a place without having to switch residencies. Her health needs will dictate this decision, but always be sure to think of the future and how the decision will play out over time.
2. What is the staff-to-patient ratio?
While the suggested ratio will vary depending on who you ask as well as the needs of the residents, it’s important to know how many staff members will be available at any given time. Most places will boast higher staff counts during peak hours, so be sure to ask what staffing looks like at other times as well.
3. What certifications and experience are required for employment?
As with any job, there will be minimum requirements to work in most positions. Put your mind at ease and ask about the credentials of those who will be interacting and caring for mom. The easier it is to acquire the job, the higher the possibility of someone slipping through the cracks that may cause harm to residents.
Bonus Question: What kind of training does your staff undergo while working for you?
Every place will vary, but it’s a positive sign if there is a good training program in place for staff members. The tone of every place of employment can define the quality of service given, and places that value service will ensure staff is properly trained to the standard they view as appropriate. Ongoing training and development is another key indicator that they value the treatment residents receive.
4. Is there a nurse on duty 24/7?
An emergency can happen at any time, and when dealing with adults later in life, those chances increase. Having a nurse on-site 24/7 is a huge plus, especially if mom may require more frequent medical assistance. Instead of having to wait for emergency personnel, mom can have access to help right away, decreasing the likelihood that problems escalate further.
5. How is medication administered and by whom?
Find out the process of administering medication. Who gives it out? Is there a schedule? How many different people could be helping mom? The goal is to limit the chances for miscalculation which can lead to serious issues, including fatalities. Even if mom doesn’t take many medications now, that may change in the future, so be sure you find out what you’ll need to know.
6. How quickly can 911 and other first responders arrive?
While no one wants to think of something negative happening, it’s best to know what the plan would be. Prepare for what could happen, and have peace of mind knowing that everything that can be done will be. Find out what the policies are surrounding emergency care.
7. What amenities are included?
Amenities will be specific to every place, so ask what is included for the residents. Some places have gorgeous outdoor facilities for residents to stretch their legs and explore nature. Well-stocked libraries are popular with many places, and some boast pools and specialty workout facilities that residents can take advantage of to stay active. You may also find weekly bingo or game nights, monthly shopping trips, or even seasonal parties or fairs.
The most important part is to ensure mom will have options that fit her lifestyle, so she doesn’t feel disconnected from her previous life or who she is as a person. No matter the age, all humans need interaction and connection.
8. What is the cost for each level of care?
All good things come with a price. Don’t shy away from asking about numbers. This is a big change for mom and for the family too. If mom isn’t mentally able to keep up with her budget, it will be up to someone else to ensure she can afford where she’ll be spending this next season of life.
Here are a few cost-related questions that can help you find the answers you’ll likely need:
- What is the monthly cost?
- Are there any additional fees that are not included?
- What types of payment plans, if any, are offered?
- Are there any government-sponsored programs to assist with cost?
- How are payments received?
- What happens for late or missed payments?
9. What is the visitor policy?
Visitor policies are common for most places, so ask what specifics are required for visitors. Do they need to sign in each time they visit? Are there certain visiting hours? Do they need to schedule visitation?
Additionally, you may want to ask what is required for a resident to check out. Do they need to get permission from a doctor or nurse before leaving? Can anyone check out a resident or only specific family members? You don’t want to be surprised when taking mom out for a quick trip.
10. Is it safe?
Keeping mom safe is always top of mind for loved ones, so make sure to do your due diligence when it comes to safety concerns. What procedures do they have to keep their residents safe in the case of an emergency?
Look for safety in the living areas.
Are there handrails to assist walking? Are there ramps or walkers for those who may need them? Are there elevators or chair lifts on the stairs? Inspect the apartment area; is everything easy to reach? Are there any trip hazards such as loose carpet or rugs, exposed cords, or slippery surfaces?
11. Is it clean?
A place that neglects cleaning is a place where you don’t want mom to be. Look for basic cleanliness such as dust-free shelves and fans, clean baseboards, sparkling bathrooms. Are there weird odors that could be a sign of something more significant? Ask about cleaning schedules and what staff members are expected to do regularly, both in common areas and private residencies.
12. What does the community feel like?
Get a feel of the community life. Can you envision mom living there? Do you see other residents doing things that mom enjoys? Check out the atmosphere of the place and really take it in.
Do residents look happy and cared for? Is the staff smiling and engaging with everyone in a positive manner? Look for clues that may reveal what the place truly is like.
There are so many more questions you can ask on your tour, but this assisted living residence checklist will get you started in the right direction. And if you’re not sure where to begin your tours, give us a call. We would love to share the beauty of The Williams Home, Inc. with you.