Is it time to take mom or dad to an assisted living home? An assisted living home is a great option if your loved one seeks assistance with basic needs but doesn’t require prompt medical attention.
You have plenty of options. The NCAL (National Center for Assisted Living) reports that there are 28,900 residential care communities in the U.S. But most assisted living communities have one main thing in common: they provide similar services. The difference in assisted living communities is how, when, and who provides the services. The training and turnover of staff. When you visit a community in person or virtually, are the staff well-groomed and smiling, or is the building clean and updated?
What can you and your loved one expect from assisted living homes? Here’s a breakdown of the services, activities, benefits, and the community.
Assisted living homes offer many of the same services. Residents receive help with essentials such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Employees will also help with basic chores, such as laundry. They will also provide meals and weekly housekeeping duties.
Services and Amenities May Include:
- Chef-prepared meals
- Personalized decorating
- Laundry services
- Cable television access
- Private phone lines
- Beauty/Barber salon
- Scheduled transportation
While most assisted living facilities can’t accommodate patients who require constant health attention, employees can monitor and manage basic health needs.
Health Needs May Include:
- Medication reminders
- Massage therapy
- Physical, speech, and occupational therapies
- In-house medical and dental services
Since assisted living homes are all about community, they offer many fun community events to keep your loved one active and engaged with other residents.
Community Events May Include:
- Interfaith programs
- Music therapy
- Pet therapy
- Ice cream socials
Assisted living homes also host outings where your loved ones get out of the home. Some of the most popular trips include restaurants, sporting events, museums, concerts, parks, and shopping.
And on an important note, every assisted living home also includes security services so you can ensure your loved one is always safe.
Residents live on their own, usually in private apartments or other types of rooms. These apartments may or may not be furnished, and also include a bathroom and kitchen. There are various bedroom sizes and different floor plans you can choose from.
Your loved ones are encouraged to be as independent as possible. The facility will respect a resident’s dignity, autonomy, and privacy.
While community involvement is recommended, your loved one doesn’t have to participate. The facility will also encourage family involvement, which includes visitation and outings.
Other rights that residents may include:
- Continued religious practices (if desired)
- Interact with other residents
- Receive wellness and health-related services
- Control over finances and possessions
Some assisted living facilities may even offer additional freedoms. This includes the freedom to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, keep small pets, and allow guests at any time (including overnight). Always check which freedoms and activities your loved one has with the facility.
The best assisted living facilities will follow your state’s assisted living regulations and will exercise excellent quality care. Here are other factors you should look for:
- How long the facility has been in business
- The experience of the director and staff
- Puts staff physical and mental health as a priority
The size of the facility as well as the staff will also depend on the quality of care that your staff receives. Most facilities have a well-trained staff that includes directors, nurses, administrators, health/wellness directors, food service directors, maintenance staff, and personal care assistants.
Other professionals may assist at the facility. These include dieticians, beauticians, physicians, and physical therapists.
You should look for certain staff quality factors, such as:
- Ability to attend to unscheduled needs
- Available 24-hours
- The education, training, and skills of staff members
- Will also meet the needs of the family members
There are different types of assisted living facilities and every facility offers different degrees of care, so be diligent in your research.
Important Information to Know About Assisted Living
Other than the essential services and benefits, you should know some integral information about assisted living homes to ensure this is the best option for your loved one.
Here’s what you need to know.
Each Community Is Unique
While most facilities offer the same level of care, they all offer different communities. For example, some facilities have an emphasis on spirituality and religion (though these services are optional).
Before choosing a facility, list out your specific needs and preferences. Some may want to connect with their peers while others prefer to live in a facility that feels more homelike and may not care as much about the community and activities.
The best way to know which assisted living home is best for you or your loved one is to schedule a tour. This allows you to walk the grounds and talk with management directly.
Different Levels of Care
There are various facilities and they all offer different levels of care.
Some assisted living homes are small and may not offer opportunities for those with severe medical conditions or who require constant assistance.
Others include different levels of care in the same facility. These services may include:
The benefit of these facilities is you can transfer your loved one to another department and they will still be living in the same facility.
Before choosing a facility, always look at your state’s regulations and the facility’s license to ensure they comply.
Are you unsure about choosing assisted living because of your specific culture? Just inform the facility about your cultural requirements and they will try their best to comply.
While many facilities already conform to various religious practices, you’ll want to note specific lifestyle requirements. For example, your loved one may not eat meat because of your culture or may require fasting on certain days of the year.
What About Couples?
What if both parents need to move into an assisted living facility? More facilities are working to accommodate couples, ensuring they stay together.
If one parent requires assisted living but the other doesn’t, their spouse can visit them regularly and may be able to spend the night on occasion.
Are You Looking for Assisted Living Homes?
Assisted living homes offer many benefits, such as essential needs, independence, activities, and high-quality care. But your loved ones will receive the best care if you choose the highest quality facility.
If you’re in or around St. Louis, you don’t have to look much farther. Brooking Park offers a home-like atmosphere with personal assistance, around-the-clock care, and fun activities every day.
All residents receive a private bedroom and bathroom for their independence. Schedule a tour with us today! You’ll be glad you did.
In research mode? Download our free Assisted Living Resource Guide.