People talk about how they don't like that families would put loved ones in nursing homes, but those families know better; sometimes people need care that families can't provide. And many people purposely move themselves into these facilities because they know they'll get the care and attention they need. If you're trying to find a place for yourself or a loved one, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all the questions you need to ask. There are some that you might not have thought of.
How Is a Permanent Change in Care Needs Handled?
Many senior living facilities are part of chains that have locations that offer services for different levels of care. In other words, one facility might be for assisted living, but it will have sister facilities for skilled nursing and memory care. It's also common to find a facility that offers a combination of care, often with the building divided into wings; sometimes the property is large enough so that each type of care has its own building. Someone could conceivably move into an independent living facility and then, as they aged and needed more care, move between buildings all on the same campus.
How the facility handles these changes is critical. If the resident starts out in assisted living but later needs to be moved to skilled nursing permanently, how much will the first facility help out with making that change? If the resident is moved to another wing or building at the same campus, how is the move handled and who arranges for things like moving the resident's belongings?
What Nursing Staff and Levels Are Available and When?
These facilities will have different types of medical staff available at different hours. Some have nurses available all day and night, while others have just a couple of shifts; general care staff should be available all the time. The resident's need for care must be evaluated thoroughly so that you know what nursing and staffing availability will be necessary. Never assume you know what will be enough.
What Happens to Pets if the Resident Needs Temporary Care Outside the Facility?
Many senior facilities allow residents to have pets, which can be great for the residents' well-being and happiness. However, if a resident temporarily needs to go to the hospital or another facility, what will the senior center do with the pet? Will they allow a neighbor at the center to care for it? Will they help arrange for boarding at a vet's office or pet hotel? Granted, if a family member or friend can care for it, that is best sometimes, but if the resident has no one near, they'll need to know what will happen to the resident's furry friend.
Senior living facilities come in many varieties and have different policies. Finding one for you or a relative is a matter of numbers; look at enough and ask enough questions, and you'll find a good match.
Contact senior living centers near you to learn more.