How to Find the Perfect Assisted Living Facility for Your Family Member

Assisted living communities and facilities are designed for people, usually seniors, who want to maintain an independent lifestyle, yet still require some assistance to meet daily needs. The ideal assisted living facility for your family member will allow him or her to feel independent while still providing the peace of mind that comes with knowing that certain specific daily living needs – for example, mobility, meal preparation, bathing and dressing, and transportation – will be adequately met. To find the perfect assisted living facility for your family member, then, you will need to keep in mind these three important considerations.

1. Services Offered

First, what services does the assisted living facility offer, and will they meet your family member’s needs? You’ll definitely need to check into this because there is no nationally accepted definition for “assisted living,” regulations vary widely from state to state, and even within states licensing varies for the level of care offered. For example, facilities with advanced licensing may provide fairly advanced medical care such as that required when a patient becomes bedridden or is suffering from advanced dementia.

In general, though, the basic categories of assisted daily living (ADL) services are:

  • Meal services
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Medication management
  • Transportation

Additional services often include help with basic housekeeping activities like doing laundry, vacuuming, and washing dishes, along with educational opportunities and opportunities for social interaction. Specialty services, which usually cost extra, include appointment scheduling and physical therapy.

2. Facility Culture/Personality

Perhaps the primary consideration in selecting the perfect assisted living facility for your family member is the culture or personality of the facility. There are thousands of these facilities across the country, and no two are exactly alike in every way. The trick is choosing the one where your loved one will feel the most comfortable and the most at home.

Here are a few of the differences in facilities and the resulting cultural/personality differences:

  • Some facilities are small, close-knit communities where residents know one another and the feel is very home-like. Others are much larger with hundreds of residents. Here the atmosphere is often impersonal, but (usually) more and more-advanced services are offered.
  • Some facilities are set up and laid out so that residents have the opportunity to spend more time outdoors during clement weather while other facilities are basically nothing more than a collection of apartment units.
  • Some facilities attract a larger share of certain kinds of residents, and so the facility becomes imbued with their personality with respect to, say, religion and politics and so on. The last few years have seen the rise of “special interest” assisted living communities where like-minded people come together.

3. Memory-Care Option

If your family member is suffering from some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s this is a consideration you certainly can’t overlook. Some assisted living facilities offer memory care – an option that can extend your loved one’s period of independent living.

At such specially licensed facilities, staff are trained in using various therapies to delay or slow the progression of the disease-causing memory loss. The trained staff at these facilities can also prevent or minimize some of the memory loss- and dementia-related challenges such as anxiety and wandering. Even in cases where the condition is advanced, these facilities are usually capable of accommodating such residents in specially designed areas with special features like secured doors.

Most assisted living facilities offer the same basic services. Some, however, offer certain extras like allowing pets and going the extra mile to ensure critical social interaction and support. It’s important, then, to find a good match for your family member’s needs and wants. Search for an assisted living facility near you to find the best in care for your family member.

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