It is hard when you realize that someone you love needs to move into an assisted living community. The problem is that dementia is all too common among seniors in the United States. Alzheimer’s Disease has climbed its way to being the sixth leading cause of death in the country. This disease or other forms of dementia will impact one in three seniors. When you set out to find the right geriatric care community, there are some things to look for when you tour the facilities.
- Pay attention to how the place smells. How clean does the place seem? Look at the windows and the baseboards. How fresh does the place smell? All geriatric care facilities may experience an accident or two but chronic smells may indicate a real problem. Talk to the staff about how often housekeeping goes into the individual living areas. One of the most important assisted living services is the cleaning that is done at the facility. If you find problems, ask the staff. It shows how much they care about the upkeep of the facility.
- Check out the senior living center when they are running an activity. One important part of dementia care is to keep people stimulated. Research shows that when seniors have three or four activities they are engaged in on a regular basis, the better their brains function. You want to find a geriatric care center that has stimulating and engaging activities. See how the residents enjoy the activity. How do they interact with each other and the staff.
- Look at how friendly the staff is. One of the most important things to look at when you are touring assisted living communities is how happy and friendly the staff are. They are going to have a big impact on your loved one. You want to make sure the staff is friendly and happy. Talk to the management of the facility and see what the staffing situation is. How long are their days and how much turnover do they have? These are important factors to consider when you are looking at geriatric care facilities. Watch how they interact with the residents. Do both seem happy with the interaction?
- Make sure you eat the facility. After the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the food is the next most important thing to look at. The quality of our food has a huge impact on our quality of life. This is even more important to people who live at geriatric care centers. You should make it a point to talk to the management about the dining policies. See what happens when residents cannot go to the dining room to eat.
- Walk around the grounds. It is always nice to get outside and spend some time in the fresh air. Check how well they maintain the outside areas of the facility. See how secure the grounds feel. Are there outdoor activities that are run by the staff of the geriatric care facility? If the person who will be living there can walk on their own, check out the walkways and make sure they are kept clear of all debris and are well maintained.
- Talk to the staff about personal care. Bring with you a lot of questions about how they handle personal care. Talk to them about how they handle bathing. Think about this when you are talking to the residents. How do they look? Do they look like they are well cared for? Does it look like they are being treated with respect and care? You need to know that your loved one will be treated with respect.
- Make sure you get the move out policy. Even if the geriatric care center seems great and you love it, it still may not work out. No one likes to move. Find out what would cause the senior center to ask a resident to leave? What happens if a resident wants to move out? How much notice do they need to give. Most senior living centers require at least 30 days notice before a resident can move.
If you do your research and spend time touring the different centers, you will find the right place.