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             24 January, 2021
 

    
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Staying Independent With Assisted Living

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2007-06-23 15:03:31     
Article by Michael Russell

Many people can't live alone any longer, but they can maintain a certain degree of independence. Assisted living facilities help to make that possible. Unlike the constant care given at nursing homes, assisted living facilities help only as needed by the individual. These people may be physically able, for the most part, but perhaps they get confused or have other memory issues. Assisted living agencies help as needed with daily tasks like baths, getting dressed, taking medications, eating or perhaps housekeeping.

There is a limit to the assistance given and people who require constant care are not candidates for assisted living. These individuals need to consider a nursing home. Nursing homes are for people who need near constant medical attention, have multiple health issues or are completely unable to care for them self.

Just like any other decision involving the lifestyle of a loved one, selecting the assisted living agency that is the right one can be difficult and confusing. One of the very first steps in the selection process is to make visits to agencies you may be considering. During your visits, ask questions and get a feel for the staff. Take some time to talk to other residents. If a particular facility looks like it might be a fit, make additional visits at different days of the week and at different times of the day. Your conversations with the residents and staff should tell you a lot about their attitudes. Not only are you going to try to determine how comfortable the other residents are, but you will be finding out how those residents will be as roommates for your loved one.

It is common for loved ones to resist the idea of assisted living. They tend to have a predetermined image of a nursing home and they imagine a radical loss of independence. Get them as involved as possible in the selection process. This simple act will help reduce their resistance.

Some of the basic things you should consider in your decision include the admission requirements, comfort of other residents, safety at the facility, amenities available, activities for the residents and resident financial responsibilities.

You will need to find out what the admission requirements are. Each agency is going to be different. If the loved one can't, or doesn't want to, meet the admission requirements that assisted living facility is off your list at the start.

In terms of comfort of the residents, how does the agency go about assessing the resident's needs? How are dietary needs handled? Are the meals varied? Does the agency employ the services of a dietician? Is the family involved in how and what services will be provided for the individual resident? What type and how many activities are there for the residents? How involved is the staff in the activities?

You will want to know about your visitation opportunities. What are visiting hours? Can you take the resident out of the facility for outings? What do you have to do to take the resident out? How long can the resident be gone?

Of course you are going to want to get a feel for how clean the assisted living facility is. Odors are a good indicators. What is your general impression of the attitude, appearance and behavior of the staff?

What is the attitude about safety at the facility? Attempt to find out how long it takes for a staff member to respond to calls for assistance. Is there some form of staff alerting system in all rooms? What is their policy and what are their resources for responding to emergencies? Study their procedures and preparedness for possible fires. Are the exits clearly marked? Do they have sufficient lighting? Is the agency and facility properly licensed?

Once you are satisfied with the admission requirements, resident comfort level and attention to safety, consider the resident amenities. Is the agency prepared to address religious desires of your loved one? After the spiritual needs, how about kitchen facilities in the room? Are telephones and televisions allowed and are there any special restrictions or fees? What types of stores and conveniences are close enough for the residents to walk to? Is transportation provided for the residents to access shopping not within a safe walking distance?

Assisted living facilities have different activities for the residents. Are they appropriate for your loved one? What does the staff do to encourage involvement? Is the daily schedule highly structured or does it allow for flexibility? Does the facility have exercise equipment for use by the residents?

Hopefully the least of your priorities, although a highly important one, would be the costs involved. First of all, is there a deposit required? If there is a deposit, how are refunds handled? There are the obvious monthly fees for the facility. Find out exactly what the on-going monthly fees cover. Are there any additional fees, like for special services or for participation in certain activities? If your loved one requires special or emergency assistance, how is that billed?

You will want to know what furnishings are provided and what the resident is allowed to bring in.

Finally, should it become necessary to relocate your loved one, how much time is allowed for that process? Do you have a specific number of days, or do you only have hours? As you can see, selecting an assisted living facility will take some time and effort. Start with site visits to check into cleanliness, attitude and comfort. Make several visits at differing times. Talk with the staff and the residents. Find out what is provided in terms of comfort features, equipment and services. Know about their safety and emergency response preparedness. What are the costs and are there any special fees?

All of these things are important to the health, welfare and care of your loved one in an assisted living facility. Be sure you know the ins and outs before placing him or her there.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Assisted Living

Specialized in: Assisted Living
URL: http://assisted-living-guides.com
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