Sometimes, finding a suitable senior care facility for a loved one can be daunting. You likely have a long checklist of factors to consider and things to look for in an elderly home. That’s okay since it will help you find a suitable facility for a senior family member. As of the moment, over 5 million seniors in the US are getting long-term care. This means that you have a bevy of options. It is just a matter of finding a suitable facility. But where should you bring an elderly loved one? Is an assisted living facility similar to a skilled nursing facility?

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

If you are new to exploring senior care facilities, it is essential to know what options to have. For one, you can choose between assisted living or nursing homes. Assisted living is a housing facility for the elderly that provides prepared meals, housekeeping, and assistance for daily living activities. On the other hand, a skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation center provides long-term and convalescent care. A nursing facility provides medical care in a clinical setting. And because they provide extensive health and medical options, it explains why there are skilled medical professionals in a nursing home. But the type of facility you choose will depend on your elderly loved one’s independence and current health status. If you need someone to look after a senior family while you are at work, an assisted living facility might work. But if your loved one also requires medical attention, then you might want to look for a nursing home. But while looking for a suitable elderly home, you must ask their loved one for their opinion. Who knows? They may have already considered where they’d want to spend the remaining days of their lives. It will also make the elderly feel better knowing that they have a say in the facility where they will likely spend the rest of their days. What’s important is that you educate a senior loved one about their options. Let them know why it would be best to stay in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. But whether you want an assisted living facility or a nursing home, here are nine things that you should look for:

1. Welcoming Atmosphere

Don’t settle for a senior care facility solely based on how the building looks. Ideally, you should ask if you can see most of the units and if the facility has vibrant and cheerful living spaces. The rooms should be for long-term care, and they should have a welcoming feel to them, instead of looking like sterile hospital rooms. Think of assisted living communities like apartment buildings, where you can do your usual activities and hang out with your neighbors. Rooms or suits should be comfortable and homelike to make residents feel relaxed. You can also ask if residents can bring things like family photos to enhance their rooms. Apart from that, residents should also have access to common areas. This includes the library, cafeteria, gym, dining hall, and more, creating a more friendly environment. Interaction with their family is also vital for the overall well-being of residents. High-quality senior care facilities will encourage the residents’ families to visit regularly. They’ll schedule activities that will often need family members’ participation. That way, they can spend more quality time with their loved ones.

2. Healthy, Nutritious Food

The food prepared should be nutritious and fresh. It is also imperative that they provide meals that are based on an elderly’s dietary needs. Meals provided should also provide variety. That way, even those who have restrictions in their diet can still eat something delicious and satisfying. There should also be staff present during mealtimes to assist and encourage residents. They should also quietly observe whether or not residents are eating well. If there are any changes in eating habits, they’ll notify the family and medical staff immediately.

3. Offers a Wide Variety of Activities

A suitable senior care facility should provide a wide variety of activities. Doing so can help them overcome feelings of loneliness, making them feel that they’re part of a community. Various activities should be offered to meet the needs of residents in all mobility levels. This includes exercises that include people with visual and hearing disabilities. That way, they won’t feel isolated. Although not every resident might participate in every activity, they can find something that can work for them.

4. Enough Staffing

Enough staffing in a senior care facility is also to the health of your elderly loved one. The best senior care facilities out there should have a tremendous resident-to-staff ratio. Doing so prevents caregivers from becoming overworked. In nursing homes, for example, there should be enough professionals who visit the facility regularly. This includes doctors, nurses, family counselors, physical therapists, wound care specialists, and certified nursing assistants. Meanwhile, there should be enough certified nurse assistants, medical attendants, aides, and personal care assistants for assisted living facilities to help residents with day-to-day personal care. The quality of life in a senior care facility also primarily depends on its caregivers. That’s why it’s vital to have thoughtful, compassionate, and kind staff to provide high-quality care to residents. They should treat residents with respect and should be patient in catering to their needs at demands. Furthermore, they should possess excellent communication skills. Doing so proves that they can help handle seniors, all with their erratic mood swings and needs. Finally, the staff must be well-trained in their field to handle both medical and non-medical emergencies. That’s because unforeseen circumstances are likely to happen in such a facility.

5. Strong Sense of Community

As you inspect a prospective senior care facility, see if the staff call their residents by name. Doing so ensures that patients do not feel dehumanized and that they have a sense of community. Residents should be treated with respect, engaged in friendly conversation, and encouraged to socialize with other residents. That way, they can spend the rest of their lives comfortably.

6. Size and Location

Another important thing that you need to consider is the location. Ideally, you want it to be in a location that allows you to visit them regularly. It should also be close enough with another immediate family member who can offer support. Another crucial factor that you need to consider is the size of the senior care facility. Will there be places where they can get to walk around and enjoy the outdoors? Are these safe and easily accessible to the elderly? Does the facility also provide ample room for quiet time and activity spaces that allow residents to decide what they’ll do at a particular time?

7. Safety and Security

Safety is also one of the essential things you need to consider when looking for the ideal facility for seniors. You should always prioritize their safety. Here are some great security features that you should look for:
  • Strong entrances and exits
  • Carefully places smoke detectors
  • CCTV cameras
  • Handrail-equipped hallways
  • Emergency push buttons
  • Rooms and corridors that are well-lit
Usually, a facility with excellent security features can make your loved one feel secure and comfortable. And knowing that your family is in safe hands gives you peace of mind. Whether you are doing phone interviews or in-person tours, you should check whether the facility is safe. And by “safe,” we mean they prevent seniors from tripping and falling, provide 24/7 monitoring, and have smoke detectors.

8. High-Quality Care

Every resident has different emotional and physical needs. The best senior care facilities do have a customized care plan for every resident. This is to cater to whatever illness or disability that they might have. The plan can also be modified to accommodate any life circumstances. Moreover, most older adults are also at the age where they would need regular medical care. There should be on-call doctors and nurses that are well-trained to give them the proper treatment. Apart from that, a great senior care facility should also be equipped with the necessary technology to help the staff provide proper medical assistance.

9. Residents can Make Their Choices

Moving to a senior care facility can be challenging for your loved one. Often, they’ll feel like they still want the freedom to make their own choices. Sure, there are things that the elderly cannot do without assistance. But it would be nice if the staff lets them do some tasks on their own. If they can still write a letter or make a video call, let them do so. Keep in mind that elderlies are prone to feeling alone and isolated. Hence, you might be surprised how letting them do things on their own can help ease the feeling of loneliness and depression.

Over to You

The best senior care facilities out there are not just about luxurious amenities or fancy rooms. Rooms are just rooms. What’s important is that a senior loved one is well-taken care of and has the freedom to do things they can. That way, you can rest assured that someone is looking after your elderly family member’s needs. Meanwhile, they do not feel isolated or separated from their loved ones. It is the people who interact with the elder that make them feel at home and comfortable. Make sure they are surrounded by people who genuinely understand aging and the importance of elder respect.
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