Assisted living communities are a wonderful option for many families who want to provide the best care for their loved ones. Often, however, an adult child will find it uncomfortable to tour these communities without their parent present. The best and most efficient method to avoid wasting time is for the adult child to view a range independently, and then introduce the parent to the best choices. This works well because usually the adult child will know what their parent does and does not like for their lifestyle. While touring all options together can work best in some cases, often the parent can become disheartened and overwhelmed with a variety of mediocre options, whereas visiting only a few but promising communities together can present a much more ideal future in assisted living.
Discuss the Parent’s Expectations
The best way to tour assisted living in an efficient manner is to communicate clearly with your loved one about what type of environment they want to spend their time. A more adventurous community which offers exciting activities? A place of indulging relaxation? A friendly, homelier atmosphere? The personality of your parent needs to match their community for them to enjoy day to day life. Frontier Management, found at frontiermgmt.com can help you in the search for communities that offer different types of lifestyles. These include communities geared towards your parent’s individual wants and the general or specialist care they may require. These qualities can be distinctly observed in even the most casual of visits, and can really make narrowing down your options a confident and easy process.
Chat with Existing Residents
This is essential for gaining an accurate insight into a community. The more people you speak to, the better informed you will be, and its fairly likely they will be either accustomed or happy to speak with unfamiliar faces about their lives. Make sure it’s a friendly chat, rather than an interrogation, but questions to consider involve whether the caregivers are more friendly or professional, how quickly they respond to personal issues with the residents, whether the community is worth the money, the activities they offer, how much they enjoy the community and how long they have stayed in the residence. These are also the people your parent will be socializing with throughout their time in assisted living communities, so it can be helpful to gauge if there are potential friends to be made.
Consider the Staff
Talking to the staff can also be helpful in terms of information about the community, but make sure to observe how they interact with the residents themselves. Are they polite? Do they conduct themselves in a pleasant and courteous manner? Do they appear attentive without crossing boundaries? If they seem stressed or overworked, this could be indicative of a poorly managed or understaffed community. These are crucial factors to investigate as they will be the primary caregivers for your parents, and a large point of daily contact.
Investigate the Leisure Amenities of the Community
Do they offer opportunities for exercise? Swimming is a fantastic way to keep fit as you age; the buoyancy of the environment is easy on joints and allows freedom of movement. Some facilities may offer this opportunity, either within the residence or offering transport to a local space. A library or easy access to a variety of books is also an attractive feature, as is opportunities for communal film watching or games. Day trips to cultural experiences is also something to consider, e.g., to museums, restaurants, or scenic walks.
Take Both the Guided Tour…
This more formal approach will give you an understanding of the space and different facilities, as well as the kinds of services they offer. A more informed decision can be made through this, and also offers the community itself a voice from which you can glean personality and suitability for your parent.
… And Your Own
A guided tour is helpful, but it’s also a constructed impression of the community – a kind of advertisement as well as an experience. Walking the different spaces independently can place you in the position of a more unobtrusive observer, where you can really see the natural atmosphere of the environment. Rather than sneaking away (which can seem the more exciting option) ask your tour guide if you could spend a few moments revisiting spaced unchaperoned, or simply wandering.
Evaluate the Space Itself
The architecture can be a really attractive or off-putting attribute for an individual. The design of the space can make a community seem cozy and warm, or open and inviting. Cleanliness and tidiness are important factors, showing both attention to detail and organization of the staff. Is it comfortable when it comes to heating or air-conditioning? Do the rooms feel drafty? Do the doors and windows seem well-maintained? As parents age, their need for more accommodating spaces becomes more apparent. Wide corridors and tidy, uncluttered rooms reduce the risk of falls, while lots of natural light provided by windows, and during the evening high quality appliances can reduce the strain on eyes.
Try the Food
Sharing a meal in the community can give you an opportunity to assess both the quality of food and the social atmosphere for what will most likely occur at least three times a day. The nutritional value of the food and the accommodation of different dietary requirements is an important aspect to consider, as food is an essential contributor to overall health.
However you decide to select the community for you, we hope this article has provided helpful and relevant information for your transition into assisted living. There are many valuable features of different communities, which otherwise you may have overlooked in research. Making a personal tour can bring really important attributes to the forefront of your mind, like the staff themselves, the facilities and amenities, the activities offered, and even the food. These will aid your decision making in a way that researching online simply can’t, by offering the security of forming opinions based on information and instinct.