Older adults and families who are considering a transition to an assisted living community may be overwhelmed by the number of choices that are available.
I'm Russell Morgan, Eldercare Advisor for Assisted Living Locators Eastside Portland, providing a free service to seniors and their families offering expert advice on short-term and long-term care options in the Multnomah County area. Here are some tips to keep in mind when researching or visiting a potential community for a loved one.
Choosing an assisted living community is an important decision that involves more than simply choosing a floor plan — it's about lifestyle. And in addition to meeting social, cultural, educational and recreational requirements, you also want to ensure that there is a continuum of care in place to meet your loved one's needs if and when they change.
Assisted living facilities offer the safety and security of 24-hour support and access to care. Day or night, help is only a phone call away. However, privacy and independence are encouraged. A good facility will develop a personalized plan that meets your senior's needs and accommodates their disabilities, while giving them the freedom to do what they can for themselves. Most facilities have a group dining area and common areas for social and recreational activities.
I recommend touring retirement communities in the area to best evaluate your loved one's options and get a feel for their “culture.” Sample the dining services by visiting for lunch. Or, attend a community event or social — there are numerous low-key opportunities which provide fun-filled, no-pressure invitations to mingle with current residents and preview the community.
Look for “personalized touches” that make the community feel more like home. For instance, many senior living communities have personal chefs, welcome animal companions or feature gardens and libraries with quiet spaces for relaxation or reading.
I also suggest asking these questions: does the facility offer activities your senior is interested in? Are there hobbies or activities on site, or transportation available to outside ones? Does the facility have amenities that are important to his/her interests, such as a gym, recreation center, library, or a chapel?
To feel confident that your loved one will be well taken care of, it's important to inquire about the staffing levels and workload at an assisted living facility. For example, how many staff members are actually involved in residents' care? How many people are working at any one time? What are their duties during those times — do they have time to interact with residents? Are there registered nurses on site? How do staffing patterns differ at night? What happens when a staff member is sick or otherwise unable to be at work — is there enough cover?
It's also imperative to make sure the facility is in compliance with state and local licensing requirements. In the U.S., each state has different standards. I'm familiar with Oregon's standards and can help guide you.
It's is a great idea to find someone who provides expert advice on senior housing and care, who works with families to find assisted living communities with top amenities, progressive healthcare and optimal wellness programs. Our free community-oriented service allows you take the time to ensure information is fully vetted, intuitive and the best elder care resources out there.
To access Assisted Living Locators' no-cost, referral service for seniors and their families, call me, Russell Morgan, at 503-560-0405 or email me at email@example.com. You can also find more information here on my site, http://www.eastsidepdx.assistedlivinglocators.com.
About Assisted Living Locators
Assisted Living Locators offers a free service for seniors and their families providing expert advice on short-term and long-term care options including in-home care, assisted living, memory care and retirement apartments. It generates revenue from the fees paid by the assisted living facilities per placement and from in-home care referrals. To learn more about Assisted Living Locators, call 800-267-7816 or visit www.assistedlivinglocators.com.