how to choose best elder care facility

Tips for Searching Out the Best Elder Care Facility for Your Senior Loved One

Diane Delaney Senior Housing Options

Tips for Searching Out the Best Elder Care Facility for Your Senior Loved One

Making the decision to move a senior loved one into an elder care facility is a complex one that can be wrought with emotional turbulence, especially in today’s world where concerns over Covid-19 exposure remain high. But if you can match your loved one with a facility that can meet all their needs, the move will eventually be appreciated, and your family member will grow to love their new home.

Of course, as challenging as it is finally making the decision to move your loved one into a care facility, it can be equally as overwhelming finding the right place for them. To help you in your quest, here are some key tips for searching out the best elder care facility for your senior loved one.

Tip #1: Identify Their Primary Needs

For your loved one to get the best care possible and to enjoy the highest quality of life, it is vital for the care facility you choose to be able to provide them with all the necessary services and medical attention they need. It is not uncommon for some older parents to be somewhat elusive when discussing their needs with their children, so if yours isn’t exactly forthcoming, you may want to speak with their doctor to find out exactly what type of services are a must-have for your loved one.

Tip #2: Make a List of Candidate Facilities

If you already know generally around which city or town your loved one prefers to live, then start researching elder care facilities in that area. Call them and ask for brochures, check their websites, and look online for current reviews. Once you have the information gathered, use it to help narrow down your choices to those best-suited to care for your loved one.

Tip #3: Make a List of Questions to Ask

Before you schedule a visit to a facility, find out if they are accepting new residents. If they are, then take the time to make a comprehensive list of questions that you would like answered. Along with finding out what types of payment are accepted, you should also find out as much as you can about the following topics, as well as what is and is not included in the cost:

  • Daily living assistance
  • Medical assistance
  • Living spaces
  • Food and dining
  • Social activities
  • Housekeeping services
  • Transportation and parking

Some elder care facilities may have programs available to help residents afford care, so if you need assistance, don’t forget to ask.

Tip #4: Visit Each Facility at Least Twice

Before you choose an elder care facility, you should visit your top choices at least twice. The first visit should be a scheduled tour of the facility. While there, talk to the staff and some of its residents. If allowed, bring a second person with you who can keep track of the details and take notes.

For the second visit, you should arrive unannounced. This will give you a better feel for how the facility operates outside of standard tour hours and you will be able to see if there’s any difference in attention and treatment when the staff aren’t aware that they’re being watched.

Other things you will want to pay close attention to during your visits include:

  • Is the facility located in a good neighborhood, or does it have a high crime rate?
  • Is the facility affiliated with a hospital?
  • Are the buildings and grounds clean and well-maintained?
  • Is there a safe, enclosed place where residents can socialize and/or walk?
  • Is the facility close to shops, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and other important places?
  • Is the facility conveniently located, so it is easy for family and friends to visit?
  • If the facility is not close to you, are there hotels nearby for when you visit?
  • Is the tour guide listening to you and answering all your questions or are they more concerned on trying to “sell” their facility to you?
  • Are the hallways well-lit and easy to for disabled residents to navigate?
  • If there are plants in the common areas, are they clean, watered, and well-cared for?
  • Are there shared pets in the community?

Elder Care Facilities: When It’s Decision Time

After conducting your initial tours and your return visits to your top candidate facilities, your job isn’t over. Now it is time to review everything you have learned and look over the printed materials you collected to determine if the elder care facilities you visited accurately match how they are being presented in their brochures and on their websites.

Taking these steps can be a lengthy process, but following through will help you feel more confident when making this all-important decision for the next chapter in your senior loved one’s life.