Before looking for an assisted living facility, take a look at yourself or your loved one. If this is to be an assisted living arrangement shared with another person, consider their condition as well. What is your current health status and physical condition? Ask the advice of a physician or other professional if you have any doubts. Assisted living facilities have different capacities for dealing with the physical and mental abilities and restrictions of their residents. If you are in good general health, your range of choices is very wide and may include senior apartments, retirement communities or 55+ communities.
In this article we are going to consider an assisted living facility to be one in which some form of supervision or assistance with daily activities is offered. This may be very minimal, such as providing light housekeeping and meal preparation, or it could be the more intense care offered by ALFs with a skilled nursing facility in-house. Some assisted living facilities have special units for residents with Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss or dementia. The needs of the resident must be fitted to the capabilities of the assisted living facility.
When you have completed an honest assessment of your (or your loved one’s) needs, you can begin to look for an assisted living facility that meets the requirements. All assisted living facilities should meet certain basic standards. There is no substitute for a personal visit (or several visits) to determine if these standards are met. Here are some of the obvious things you should look for during a visit.
- Check the level of cleanliness and organization. Are the common areas neat and well maintained? Is the dining facility well kept? Are there any obvious problems?
- Observe the friendliness and interaction of the staff with residents.
- Try to get feedback from the current and past residents. Ask for their honest opinions about the facility. How satisfied are the current residents?
- Check the social and recreational opportunities in the facility. Is there a social director or social worker?
- Is there transportation to local shopping, medical facilities and entertainment?
- What is the quality of personal care given? Look carefully at the community’s current residents to see how well groomed and cared for they are.
- Are the individual senior apartments equipped to meet the resident’s needs?
- If you are selecting a facility for a loved one with special needs, is the facility able to meet those needs?
- Is the ALF licensed for the specific services you need?
Assisted living facilities are regulated by the state. You should check with your state’s regulatory authority to make certain that the ALF you are considering meets all the current license requirements for the level of care needed. This may be a confusing task; nationwide, there are more than 26 designations used to refer to what is commonly known as assisted living, including “residential care,” “senior care,” “elder care,” “care home” and “retirement residence.” Be sure that you understand the level of care available at a given assisted living facility.
Also, the state agency can tell you about any violations or citations issued to a given senior care facility. In Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is the division of state government that is responsible for licensing and regulating assisted living facilities. Their webpage can be found at www.floridahealthfinder.gov. One report of a violation does not make a pattern; it may be an oversight or a mistake by a single employee. However, if there are repeated complaints or violations, this should raise a red flag. Ask the administrator about these complaints or violations.
Be certain that you understand the financial arrangements. Ask for a copy of all the papers you will need to sign before actually signing them. If you do not fully understand the terms, get advice from an attorney or someone you trust to explain them to you. These are some elements of the financial arrangements you should check:
- Is there an entrance fee, application fee or deposit up front?
- Do you have a sample contract?
- What is included in the monthly rate? What are the charges for additional services, if needed?
- Is there a cap on possible monthly rate increases?
- What choices are available if my health status declines?
- What are the moving out procedures and terms?
- Besides personal funds, what sources of payment may be available?
The entire range of financial, social, medical, psychological and other concerns associated with choosing an assisted living facility cannot be covered in one brief article. In fact, very few people have the time, the patience or the knowledge to deal with all of these matters. Finding Assisted Living and FindingAssistedLiving.com are dependable sources of unbiased and knowledgeable information and referrals for you or the person who depends on you. Please call on FAL to provide expert and trustworthy advice and assistance in finding home care options, assisted living facilities or a range of other options. Visit FindingAssistedLiving.com now to get the help you need.
Thank you for visiting the web site of FindingAssistedLiving.com The information contained on this website is provided for educational and informational purposes only. The contents of this site are not and should not be construed as legal advice. The website is not an offer to perform services on any matter. This website contains general information from a variety of sources and might not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. Please consult a professional such as an attorney and or CPA when taking these matters into consideration for you or loved one.