Posted April 16, 2023 in Articles
Author: MEGHAN WALSH
Finding the best senior living facility for a loved one can be an intimidating task. Care and comfort are the top two elements that should be taken into consideration when searching, and there are questions family members can ask themselves and facilities while browsing, which will help them determine the best fit.
Eric Sailor, co-owner and certified senior adviser at CarePatrol of Northeast Ohio in Solon, and Nancy Sutula, vice president of residential services at Menorah Park in Beachwood, provide Cleveland Jewish News readers with their advice and lists of questions families should ask facilities, and themselves, when looking for the right place for an elderly loved one to call home.
“One of the toughest things to do is make an honest assessment of the current living situation. It’s a place where most have built decades of memories, so emotions are very much attached to where we live. Understanding this and engaging in a respectful dialogue is very important. We are all individuals and our values, our personal needs and wants are of course very important. It’s important to look at what adds to overall enjoyment and a rewarding lifestyle.”
1. What are the true needs of their loved one?
2. Are they maintaining their appearance, eating right, taking their medication as prescribed, falling more frequently and safe in their home?
3. What is their day-to-day routine like?
4. Do they socialize with others either inside or outside of their home?
5. What do you feel is most valuable? Wellness? Safety? Location? Price? Amenities?
6. What is essential? Identify deal breakers that need to be included in the suite. (i.e. washer/dryer, kitchen, closets/storage space)
7. Decide what is essential in the community for them to move in. (i.e. dining venues, outdoor space/walking paths, social events, spiritual programs, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities)
8. Decide what is essential in the community related to care. (i.e. 24-hour nursing on site, medication assistance, assistance with dressing/bathing, transportation, therapy availability)
9. Is the community a single level of care or multi-level community? For example, does the community offer only independent living or assisted living? Or are there multiple levels (independent, assisted living, short-term rehab, etc.) on the same campus?
10. How does the community look when you arrive? Is it clean?
11. Does the community feel welcoming when you walk in?
12. Is the staff friendly?
13. Are there residents around in the common spaces?
14. Is there programming going on?
15. Are there common spaces? Are they inviting?
16. What is the monthly fee?
17. What does the monthly fee include?
18. What add-on services require an extra charge?
19. What assistance is available for medications? Is there an additional charge?
20. Is transportation offered? How does it work?
21. Are residents able to personalize their space?
22. Are visitors allowed at any time? Are visitors able to stay overnight in resident suites?
CarePatrol of Northeast Ohio
“You have to remember what mom and dad are used to (living) in their own home, in their own space, what they would feel comfortable with, what they wouldn’t feel comfortable with. Keep that in mind and, ultimately, it’s proven itself over and over again, but the quality of care is going to far outweigh the glimmer and the glam of a place.”
1. How many caregivers are on staff?
2. Is there a nurse on staff? Are they in the building 24/7, or is there a time they are on call?
3. What kind of training does staff go through to manage senior care?
4. Is there staff with tenure in different departments, and if so, how long and where?
“Turnover is a pretty big problem in the industry, so if you can find a community that actually has some tenured employees, generally, the experience for the resident is much better,” he said.
5. Are they using agency staffing? If so, what percent of the staff is from an agency?
6. Do residents get an alert pendant and, if so, what is the average response time?
7. How frequently are residents checked on throughout the day and night?
8. Have you ever had a citation for abuse or neglect?
9. Is there an in-house physician or physician partnership?
10. Do you work with podiatrists, ophthalmologists, dentists and audiologists?
11. At what point would you no longer be able to care for a resident?
12. What happens if my loved one runs out of money in your community?
13. Outside of monthly rent and care cost, what additional monthly expenses would a resident incur?
14. Is there a welcome party or orientation process for a new resident and family?
15. Are there opportunities for residents and their families to provide feedback?
16. What is the current number of residents?
17. How many apartments are in the facility?
18. Are the residences furnished or unfurnished?
19. Can residents decorate or personalize their own apartments or spaces?
20. What types of activities are available to residents and how often do they occur?
21. Do you offer transportation? If so, how far and how frequent?