Choosing an assisted living community

 Reformed Church Home Reformed Church Home It is vital for your family member that you spend a considerable amount of time researching the assisted living community before you send them to the home. It is much easier to pick a good home in the beginning than it is to choose a poor home and have to go through the many obstacles to improve the care or try to transfer your family member to another facility. It is important not to judge the facility on the basis of a guided tour or the nice furniture and wallpaper in the lobby. You must remember that, especially in a for-profit facility, they put a lot of effort in marketing to convince you to bring your family member to their home. The pictures of happy grandmas in their brochures, nice dining rooms and landscaped entrances do not give you an idea of the quality of the basic care that your family member will receive.

There are many ways to go about selecting an assisted living facility that will be right for you. Besides researching state inspection reports, getting word-of-mouth recommendations and looking at promotional literature, nothing is more valuable than the insight you gain from making personal visits. Visit more than one assisted living facility, and visit more than once. Ask a lot of questions, and trust your feelings about the places you visit.

Find out as much as you can about each facility. A good way to do this is to talk to:

 The long-term care ombudsman, who visits assisted living facilities and investigates complaints.

 Doctors, nurses, hospital social workers, clergy, and other professionals who are familiar with assisted living communities.

 Family members and friends of people who live in assisted living communities.

 Residents of the facilities.

 Facility employees, especially nursing assistants, who give 90 percent of the care.

Ask a lot of questions about any facility you are interested in

 Do people you talk to regard this as an assisted living community?
 Has the state licensing agency found an unusual number of violations here?
 Does the home have enough staff, especially nursing assistants, to give residents the care and attention they need?
 Are staff friendly, considerate, and helpful?
 Are residents treated with dignity and respect?
 Are there a lot of staff changes because workers leave?
 Do staff members do their jobs well?
 Does the facility provide the special services your loved one needs?
 Are there always enough linens and other supplies?
 Are families concerned about fee increases or extra charges for supplies or services?
 Is the quality of life good — such things as choices of food at meals and which clothes to wear, a homelike environment,
and interesting or entertaining activities?
 Does the facility have an active resident council? An active family council?
 Are there some really good things about this facility?


Planning ahead is one of the best ways to ease the emotional stress when seeking an assisted living community. If you are helping a relative or a friend find a facility, involve them in the process as much as possible.

If the person is mentally alert, it is essential that their wishes be considered every step of the way.

By planning ahead and educating yourself and your family about the facility’s care and services, it will become a much easier transition when you can no longer put off admitting someone to assisted living. It will also put the future resident’s mind at ease to know what to expect in the admission process and the first few days in their new home.

 Visit rooms where various therapies and recreational programs are held.
 Observe the dining area, beauty salon and the schedules for each.
 Inquire about security measures.
 Ask about facility policies regarding use or installation of telephones, cable
television and bringing personal items into the facility.
 Observe how the staff meets with you and how they interact with other residents during your visit (are they respectful, caring, and attentive?)
 Observe if the residents are occupied, supervised, satisfied, well groomed
and if the rooms are personalized.
 Is the facility free of overwhelming unpleasant odors?
 Is the home clean and well-maintained?
 Do chairs and other furniture seem sturdy, attractive and comfortable?
 Is the facility well lighted?
 Taste the food; is it good?
 Are the residents who need help eating receiving assistance?
 Are there hand rails in hallways and grab bars in bathrooms?
 Is the temperature comfortable?
 Do the rooms have windows?