The Must Haves – Looking For An Assisted Living Home

What’s the number one criteria?

The number one criteria…. Location, location, location. How close is the house to the family? The resident is going to move in once, but the family will be the ones going to visit them, so it has to be conveniently located.  The Residential Assisted Living model is to use a home that is in the same neighborhood that the family of the resident may live in. Certainly the same community, usually it’s within 5, 10, 15 miles or 20 minutes so that way somebody can drive over after work and get home, and it only takes an hour or two to have that visit to be able to come and go a couple of times a week or a month. 

How critical is the price?

Everyone has a budget, so what does it cost? One of the things to keep in mind is that when you use the Residential Assisted Living model, the monthly fee typically includes everything.  In a big box facility they may say, “come on in and the base rate is X ”, and then they have a menu of options. They will ask questions like, “Would mom like to eat? Does mom have medication? Does she need help with transportation?”  Before you know it, the base rate of $3,000, plus the add-ons will make it $5,000 or $6,000, or $7,000 or more. We have a lot of people that come from a big box facility that say they thought it was only going to be a specific “lower” price and after the first month it was a much higher price and then they kept raising it. In residential assisted living, it’s one price and it typically covers it all. 

Why are the Caregivers and Manager an important factor?

The caregivers are the ones who are face to face, day to day with the resident.  Do they speak the same language as mom or dad? Do they communicate with love? Are they well trained or certified if required? Are they good at what they do? How do the managers treat the caregivers? How do they communicate with them? Do they give them the resources they need, the tools they need? Would you trust them with your own mom and dad? Because that’s what you’re doing. Go for a tour and see the home. Then drop by a few days later when they’re not expecting it and see if it’s different. If it’s the same, that’s great. Maybe they were putting on a show for you and it’s different when they’re not expecting you. Then go again on a weekend, the staff during the week is typically different than the staff on the weekend. See what the chef is like, what the food is like. Do they provide good food and nutrition? Do they provide inside and outside activities?

Should the caregivers go to Doctor appointments with you? 

You should ask the manager if they would be willing to come with you on doctor’s appointments. The Doctor may communicate something important that needs to get directly to the caregivers, and the best way to do that is to have the caregiver or manager go with you to that appointment. It gives the doctor an opportunity to know what the caregivers’ skill level is and to know that communication is open.  

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