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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Long-Term Senior Care Facility

As families navigate the complex decision of choosing a long-term senior care facility for a loved one requiring round-the-clock care, a myriad of critical questions arise. From the quality of care to the facility’s environment, here are the essential questions families should ask before making this impactful and complicated decision.

1. What Level of Care Does Your Loved One Require?

Understanding the specific needs of your loved one is the cornerstone of finding the right senior care facility. Consider the level of assistance required.  Nursing homes are best for skilled care needs (IV, feeding tubes, wound care etc), Assisted Living are best for help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) such as bathing, dressing, medication management, and mobility. Specialized care needs, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s care, may be best provided in a memory care neighborhood within an Assisted Living. Understanding the specific needs of your loved one is the cornerstone of finding the right senior care facility. Consider the level of assistance required.  Nursing homes are best for skilled care needs (IV, feeding tubes, wound care etc), Assisted Living are best for help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) such as bathing, dressing, medication management, and mobility. Specialized care needs, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s care, may be best provided in a memory care neighborhood within an Assisted Living.

2. Is the Facility Licensed and Accredited?

Ensuring that the facility holds the necessary licenses and accreditations is fundamental to guaranteeing the quality of care. Check with relevant regulatory bodies to confirm the facility’s compliance with state regulations. Additionally, look for accreditations from reputable organizations, as they often signify a commitment to high standards of care.

3. How do you Evaluate the Staff?

The staff-to-resident ratio is a critical factor influencing the quality of care your loved one will receive. Don’t look for hard numbers, the ratio should be flexible, reacting to the changing needs of the residents. Ask about the tenure of nursing and caregiver staff, stability is a great asset.  Inquire about the training and qualifications of the staff, including nurses, caregivers, and other support personnel, to ensure they are equipped to handle the specific needs of seniors requiring round-the-clock care.

4. How Does the Facility Ensure Safety and Security?

Safety is paramount, especially for seniors with mobility challenges or cognitive impairments. Evaluate the facility’s safety measures, including emergency response plans, security features, and accessibility. Check if there are grab bars, ramps, and other modifications to ensure a safe environment for residents.

5. What Activities and Social Opportunities Are Available?

A well-rounded senior care facility should provide opportunities for residents to engage in physical, social, and recreational activities. Inquire about the facility’s activity programs, outings, and social events. Social interaction is crucial for mental well-being and can greatly enhance the overall quality of life.

6. How Does the Facility Handle Health Care Needs?

Understanding the facility’s approach to healthcare is vital. Inquire about the availability of on-site medical services, the process for managing medical emergencies, and the coordination with external healthcare providers.

7. What Are the Financial Considerations?

Discussing the cost of care is an essential part of the decision-making process. Clarify the pricing structure, any additional fees, and the facility’s policies regarding payment plans and insurance coverage. Make sure to understand the requirements for leaving – how much notice do you need to give?

8. How Does the Facility Foster Family Involvement?

Maintaining strong connections with family is crucial for the emotional well-being of seniors. Inquire about the facility’s policies regarding family visits, participation in care planning, and communication channels. A facility that actively involves families in the care process fosters a collaborative and supportive environment.

9. What Are the Meal and Nutrition Options?

A nutritious diet plays a significant role in the health and well-being of seniors. Inquire about the facility’s meal plans, dietary options, and how they accommodate special dietary needs. Taste the food if you can.  Even the most nutritional food is of little value if it’s not eaten.

10. Can the Facility Accommodate Changing Needs?

As seniors age, their care needs may evolve. It’s crucial to choose a facility that can adapt to these changes. Inquire about the flexibility of care plans, the process for assessing and adjusting care levels, and the overall capacity of the facility to accommodate evolving health requirements.

Choosing a long-term senior care facility for a loved one is a complex decision that demands thorough consideration. By asking these critical questions and conducting diligent research, families can make informed choices that prioritize the well-being and happiness of their senior family members. Finding the answers can be difficult.  An Oasis Senior Advisor can identify and explain the options that are best for your senior loved and provide vetted referrals to help you put together a plan for their care.  Reach out to Oasis (TheDoyles@YourOasisAdvisors – 914.356.1901 or 475.619.4123) to ensure that your plan aligns with the unique needs and preferences of your loved one, creating a supportive and enriching environment.

Oasis Senior Advisors

Fairfield-Westchester

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Paul and Susan Doyle

Certified Senior Advisor®

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475-619-4123