Topics on Aging

By Juan Gallo

How do you choose an assisted living facility?

October 3, 2022

How do you choose an assisted living facility?
Deciding that an assisted living facility is the right choice for you or for a loved one is only the beginning of your research. The next step is choosing the right location.

Unfortunately, some of that choice may depend heavily on your budget. Assisted living facilities are not cheap, so your options may be limited.

Adding to the difficulty is the fact that any tour guide will do their best to make a great first impression. Facility directors can make a lot of promises to families, even if they don’t have the resources to keep those promises.

Here are some factors to look for as you tour different facilities.

The type of facility

First, let’s clarify our terms.

An assisted living facility provides care for adults who can do some things on their own but still need frequent help. Skilled staff are available to assist at all hours, but they may not always be medical professionals. Residents have their own rooms and sometimes their own apartment.

To me, people make or break the quality of an assisted living facility. Pay attention to the staff. Are they friendly, engaging and kind?

Nursing homes are similar but offer the supervision of a licensed physician and closer monitoring of the residents. A nurse or medical professional should be available 24 hours a day. Facilities may offer physical therapy or specialize in caring for those with memory loss.

A continuing care retirement community allows seniors to live independently now — but still have access to assisted or nursing care, should they need it in the future.

Staffing

To me, people make or break the quality of an assisted living facility. As you tour the facility, pay attention to the staff. Are they friendly, engaging and kind? Do the residents respond positively to them?

I would ask how well the facility is staffed and how frequent staff turnover is. I’d want to know what percentage of the staff are licensed medical professionals.

Perhaps the hardest thing to assess is how person-centered the facility is. Do residents get a say in what they’re doing? How does the facility encourage their independence, wherever possible?

Activities and amenities

The best facilities will offer physical activities and social events to keep residents engaged and active. A variety of options are key, as not every senior will get excited about the same things.

The food offered should be healthy and delicious. Think about what you’d like to eat in retirement.

A center also should encourage physical fitness. Natural light and access to fresh air are very important. Is it easy for residents to go for a walk or sit outside?

Pay attention to the security of the building and the level of safety it provides the residents. Can residents get around easily, even in a wheelchair? Do their rooms accommodate their needs?

Proximity to family and friends

The best assisted living facility is one that makes it easy for friends and family to visit. Who are the people who are most likely to stay in touch with you or your loved one? Consider a facility within their community.

If you need additional pointers, I found a great list of questions to ask as you decide on the best facility for you or your loved one.

If you’d like recommendations for great assisted living facilities in South Florida, feel free to give us a call: 954-315-2218.

Read more about:
Juan Gallo
Juan Gallo is the CEO of Heart2Heart Outreach, where he oversees the mobilization of volunteers to provide hope, share love and restore purpose to the lives of the aging population across South Florida.

He also serves as a local pastor and as an adjunct professor at Trinity International University, where he is teaching a course on diversity and aging. Juan has a master’s degree in counseling and psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor intern.

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