4 Things to Look For in Assisted Living

Some people are concerned about going to a nursing home or putting a loved one there. Yet assisted living facilities can be exactly the right choice for some people, and particularly for those in need of Alzheimers care or other types of memory care. Whether your loved one needs specialized care or just a bit of assistance after retirement, the nursing home can be a great place. There\’s no need for a nursing home to be a dismal place. The best care facilities of this type are all about maximizing and celebrating life, not preparing for death. Here\’s what to look for in the best nursing homes.

Plenty of Professional Staff

You don\’t want to see a couple of worn down nurses and a whole lot of cleaning staff. You want to be seeing physicians, family counselors, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and nurse\’s aides. You want someone who can prescribe medications, possibly a speech therapist, and a physical therapist and occupational therapist coming around regularly.

All this is especially important for residents who are in need of specialized care, such as pain management or physical therapy. It\’s also crucial so that residents can get some care in the nursing home and not have to be sent to the emergency room for every IV. It also means that there\’s more likely to be someone there when a resident needs help, and someone more likely to notice a small issue before it becomes a big one.

Empowered Residents

The residents should have as much say as possible in what they wear and do throughout the day. Some people regularly get up before 6am, while others prefer to sleep till 9am and always have. This shouldn\’t have to change just because they\’ve gone into nursing care. People should be able to wear their own clothes and choose whether they want to socialize over meals, eat more intimately with one or two friends, or even eat alone. A good nursing home empowers residents to make these kinds of choices for themselves.

Plenty of Activities

One of the worst things about a bad nursing or retirement care center is a lack of anything meaningful for residents to do. A good nursing home will provide physical, social, and even educational activities for residents to choose from. There should be outdoor areas, spots for playing games and visiting with friends, yoga classes for gentle stretching, and even competitions to encourage interaction.

Some nursing homes bring in dogs and cats for residents to interact with. Others encourage volunteer community groups to take part in a game night, a \”senior dance,\” or to help hold church services on Sundays. The goal is that there be a community.

Focus on Residents

The people in a good nursing home are \”residents,\” not \”patients.\” The focus should be on them, and each should be defined by their unique personality rather than by their illness. This can happen no matter how large or small a facility is, whether it costs a lot or a little to enter. It\’s all about the smiles on the faces of the staff and the welcome they provide to residents and their loved ones.

If you want to know how a nursing home does with focusing on the individual resident, ask them what they do with patients suffering from dementia who ask to go home regularly. Instead of harshly replying \”this is your home now,\” expect them to explain how they get into a dialog with the resident, asking about their home, the people in it, and the feelings they have about it. This is the best way to put a confused person more at ease and to compassionately help them deal with the realities of a new life.

The average retirement age in America is 63, yet nearly 70% of people will be needing long-term care of some sort at age 65. There are more than five million Americans currently battling Alzeimer\’s. There is a great need for memory care facilities, and it may be that someone you love will soon also be in need of such care. Look for these signs of a great nursing home to ensure that your loved one lives life to the fullest even in an assisted living home.