When the time comes to research and visit senior housing choices, either for oneself or a loved one, what criteria should be used to properly compare and choose the facility that best “fits” a senior’s needs? While it may be simplest to just choose the one closest to home, or the least expensive one, these may not be the best criteria for ensuring a loved one’s care. While proximity to family and cost are important factors to consider, also keep in mind these important features of each assisted living facility in Troy that needs to be evaluated to ensure their loved one is in the right place to thrive.
Perhaps the most important item to consider — that can make a huge impact on how a resident feels day in and day out — is the general staff attitude at the assisted living community. Oakland County has many facilities to choose from, but the best ones have exceptional staff who are dedicated to residents’ well-being and happiness. They are warm and friendly and always provide the utmost in compassionate and skilled care. These staff qualities ensure residents feel safe and at home.
Speaking directly with care staff is a good idea. Listening to staff viewpoints about the facility and learning about their passion for the job can help people discover the daily atmosphere that a loved one would experience at the assisted living community.
Basic Care is Met and Exceeded
All assisted living facilities should meet a basic standard of care for residents. But some facilities that may look nice on the outside simply don’t offer even this basic standard. Family members should ask about (and look for on a tour):
- How professional is the medication management – are medicines consistently administered on-time every day?
- Is help offered with personal care such as toileting and teeth brushing?
- Are linens changed daily?
- Are laundry and housekeeping services provided at least once a week?
In addition to the cleanliness of the facility and friendliness of the staff, ensuring basic care standards are met is a top priority.
Various Levels of Care to Adapt to Changing Needs
Another important criteria for evaluating the quality of an assisted living community in Oakland County is whether they offer multiple levels of care for the changing needs of their residents: are there hospice and memory care offerings, in addition to assisted living?
If an assisted living resident begins developing dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms, they may eventually require specialty memory care. Does this facility offer such care onsite with its own wing or floor? Also, when a resident is nearing the end-of-life stage, is there hospice care available to provide pain management, spiritual resources and guidance to their family members? Even though these are issues no one likes to consider in advance, these are all important questions to ask of any facility being considered.
The quality of the meals and snacks offered at a long-term care facility can make a big difference to the health and morale of its residents. Look for these features of the food service at any facility being evaluated:
- The meals are chef-prepared, with plenty of variety in the menu and an emphasis on delicious flavors.
- There are meal offerings for those with special diet needs, such as diabetics. These offerings are overseen by a dietician and every effort is made for these choices to be tasty and not bland.
- Residents have choices of when and where to eat their meals. In between mealtimes, snacks are offered to satisfy between-meal hunger.
- Private dining room(s) are available to reserve for meals with visiting family members or for special occasions.
The best way to evaluate the meals at any facility is to eat there, oneself. This can usually be arranged and is an excellent firsthand way to experience a bit of daily life in the assisted living community. Not only will this allow the visitor evaluating the facility to taste the food, but they can also observe other residents and see whether many are refusing to eat or not enjoying their meals; this could be an indication that meal variety and quality aren’t up to par.
Activities, Socialization and Extras Make All the Difference
So far, the criteria discussed have all been vital basics – cleanliness, employees’ demeanor, basic help and care, and food. But what about all the additional offerings from an assisted living community that set it apart and really create a quality living experience for a loved one? Look for the following options to be offered:
- Plenty of opportunity for social activities – Look for a facility that offers a variety of group games, fitness classes, holiday parties, birthday celebrations and also group rooms or patios for casual socialization or visiting with family.
- Pet Friendliness – If a loved one has a pet, ensure that the facility will allow it to live onsite. Some places allow small dogs and cats with a pet deposit.
- Security – For family members’ peace of mind, ensure that the facility has a state-of-the-art security system in place to ensure residents’ safety at all times.
- Transportation – Facilities should offer transportation for residents to doctors’ appointments and the best ones even pack a meal or snack if the resident will be gone during mealtime.
- Extras on Offer – While most facilities include things like internet and cable TV in the cost of care, ask to make sure. Also, quality facilities will also have options available for an additional fee, like beauty salon treatments, manicures, and full spa services.
Making a Final Choice
Choosing a memory care, assisted living, or hospice care facility in Oakland County, MI is no simple task. It requires time to research and visit potential locations. This list should help any family objectively evaluate facilities to find the best fit for their loved one that will ensure their happiness and safety.