Thousands of people every year begin the process of evaluating assisted living facilities (ALF) either for themselves or a loved one. Personal safety is one of the primary reasons individuals choose to enter a care facility.
Seniors often cherish their independence and don't want to admit they may need help in certain areas of daily life.
However, injuries in and around the house have become a routine part of many seniors' lives. At some point in time a conversation has to be had if it is no longer safe for an elderly person to live alone.
Although there are other living arrangements available, such as in-law suites in homes or a visiting nurse service, for many seniors the practical choice is to enter an assisted living facility.
Assisted living facilities are suitable for individuals needing help with ADL, or activities of daily life, but who desire to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. An assisted living facility acts as a transition between independent living and a nursing home. It is practical for those who cannot live on their own but do not require constant supervision.
Facilities may offer a host of services, including assistance with eating, dressing, bathing, housekeeping, and other needs. The center also may be able to provide some level of medical care.
However, this medical care won't be as extensive as in a nursing home or hospital setting.
Many times ALFs are part of a larger web of care called a continuing care system. This means there is a network of facilities in an adult community, from independent living to assisted living to a nursing home.
This enables a person to work with one organization and travel comfortably through the system as need warrants.
Because safety is the primary reason for seeking a new living arrangement, safety should be one of the foremost considerations when choosing an assisted living facility.
Here are some questions to ask when visiting properties.
-- Is there adequate lighting indoors and outdoors?
-- Are apartments equipped with grab bars in the bathrooms and safety railings in the hallways?
-- Can a person move freely throughout the apartment without tripping on carpeting or other obstructions?
-- Are there safety signaling devices inside the residence in case of an emergency?
-- Are there personnel available 24 hours a day in case assistance is needed?
-- Is a call-in system present to ensure that residents are doing well every day?
-- Are employee references checked thoroughly and have they undergone a background check to ensure they are safe to have on the premises?
-- Is the facility clean and up-to-date with the latest technology?
-- Is there medical care available for routine services, such as dietary needs, podiatry and general check-ups?
-- Is there a maintenance staff available for home fixes, such as plumbing problems or electrical outages?
Once safety concerns have been addressed, facilities can be considered based on other desirable factors.
Many individuals want facilities that offer recreation, free transportation to stores and doctor visits, and proximity to family and friends. Some residents desire a small facility, while others like the options of a larger community.
Cost will also be a major factor in a decision on an assisted living facility. If the facility offers everything desired, it could be worth the expense to pay a little more for good care.