Recently, I took calls from three different friends. Each one was trying to decide how to choose a senior community that would be the best match for their respective mothers. They all started talking about the size of the apartment and the amenities, the common spaces, and even the finish on the kitchen cabinets.
You Need to Think Differently
Learning how to choose the right senior community for your loved one is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make for your aging senior. Assessing a community’s assisted living should be part of the process, as health needs can change quickly.
When choosing a senior community, how long a provider has been offering assisted living tells you something important. It is not to your advantage to be the first family that will be receiving services in a building previously set up as a senior apartment complex.
Caring for older adults with multiple chronic conditions requires specialized clinical expertise and oversight, and an understanding of how to balance the individual’s need for independence with the need for safety. That takes experience. Ask about the provider’s experience in assisted living.
Even though a provider has offered assisted living for quite some time, it doesn’t mean that the specific staff caring for your loved one is experienced. Here are some questions to ask to assess the level of expertise when choosing a senior community:
- Is there a full-time registered nurse (RN) on site?
- What is the staff turnover rate, especially among full-time staff?
- Does the community regularly survey resident satisfaction?
Quality Measures Matter
There are challenges to helping older adults stay healthy. But an important component of success is reviewing results on a regular basis and making improvements. How to choose a senior community is by asking the below questions about quality care:
- How does the community evaluate its care?
- What does it measure?
- How is the community doing in comparison to national or state trends on some of the major risk factors for older adults, like falls?
While all the health related things I’ve mentioned are very important, so is the community’s activity programming.
- Ask about the variety of activities and the frequency.
- Are residents still engaged outside in the local community as well as participating in the activities where they reside?
- Is there a dedicated, experienced staff person focused on the residents’ quality of life?
If you evaluate these things, you will be well on your way to making a good decision. Laureate Group Senior Communities prides itself on keeping loved ones in good hands – our hands.
If you need additional help, contact Laureate Cares to speak with someone who can help you sort through the issues, identify options and figure out the steps necessary to make a good decision in your particular situation. Laureate Cares is a free consultation service, so don’t hesitate to call us at 262-832-7113.