- DR. MARION'S METHOD
- CAREGIVER TRAINING
Woman's Day’s Guide to Caregiving: Facility Shopping
Streamline your search with these 10 dos and don’ts
If you’ve discussed housing options and settled on choosing a retirement home or assisted living facility for your loved one, make sure you do a thorough search for the right place. To help with the selection process, follow these dos and don’ts from Marion Somers, PhD, author of Elder Care Made Easier. And remember to take your time and avoid these common mistakes when deciding how to care for an elderly family member.
1. Do get to know the facility’s policies. Find out when and why they discharge a person, because that will tell you what to expect. Was the person late on too many bills? Did he or she need a higher level of care than the facility could offer? Also, find out whether the patient’s family was given their security deposit upon discharge, and if not, what the policy is regarding refunds in general.
2. Don’t rely on brochures alone. Visit the facility in person to see how the staff interacts with the residents and vice versa.
3. Do talk to the residents; see if you can stay for a meal to get a better feel of day-to-day life there.
4. Don’t make just one visit. Planned tours are geared toward showing you the best of what is offered. Consider making a surprise visit to see what the home environment is like on a normal day.
6. Don’t be shy about asking about social events. This is a very important aspect for elderly people, and it’s important to look into what kinds of events are available for the residents.
7. Do quiz them about security. Is someone available on-site 24 hours a day? Is there an in-house safety alarm system? Are there built-in safety features (pull cords and safety bars)?
8. Don’t skim the contract. Read it over thoroughly so you understand your liability as well as any upfront and hidden costs. If you are unsure about anything, consider hiring a lawyer to review the contract.
9. Do make sure that the facility is licensed. All retirement homes require several licenses and they must be kept up to date. Ask for copies of the facility’s materials when you visit.
10. Don’t hesitate to dig a little deeper into the staff’s qualifications. Find out what the staff-to-resident ratio is. It’s a great indicator of the type of care and attention seniors receive. Find out who is on the night staff and what sort of nighttime coverage there is. Are there people actually at the facility or simply on standby in case something goes wrong? Ask to see all the licenses of the staff members you’ll be working with.
For more insight into caring for elderly family members, visit our Designated Daughter blog.
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