The decision to move into assisted living / enriched housing is often wrought with emotion and uncertainty. Yet, in many cases, it is truly the best option to ensure the safety and health of an aging loved one.
Finding the right community with the best care can certainly help ease some of the fear and anxiety, but since this is likely your first time making this decision, you may not know where to start or what to look for in an assisted living/enriched housing community. To help you make the right choice, here are 8 important criteria to use when comparing your options.
8 Important Things to Consider When Choosing an Assisted Living Community
During your visit, you’ll want to consider the quality of care and services the assisted living/enriched housing community provides, but also the quality of life. The decision of where to move is solely up to you and your loved ones, so focus on the factors that are most important to you.
This is where you’ll make your first impression – does it look, feel and smell like this could be home? Note whether or not the environment is cheerful and if staff members are welcoming and warm. Make sure the grounds are well-maintained and clean. Inquire about walking paths, garden areas or outdoor patios. Get an overall feel for the demographics of the other residents to ensure it’s a good fit. Are residents socializing, do they appear happy?
You’ll want to learn about the different styles of apartments and floor plans available, and ensure that the apartments are clean, and well-lit with ample closet space. Find out if telephone, cable and internet are included in the monthly service fee. Check to see if the bathroom has grab bars, handrails and a call button, and ask about laundry and housekeeping. This is also a good opportunity to inquire about the number of residents, and find out if there’s a waiting list.
Safety & Medical
Safety should be a top priority, so make sure there is 24 hour security. Stairs and hallways should be well-lit, the floors should be non-skid or carpeted for safe walking, and doors and windows should have safety locks. Ask about fire safety and emergency evacuation plans, and find out if residents may come and go at will. Does staff assist with medication, bathing and dressing? Find out how medical emergencies are handled, and if there is an arrangement with a hospital should residents need immediate care. It’s also important to learn about memory care and skilled nursing options.
Food & Dining
When it comes to dining, you’ll want to focus on nutrition and choice. Find out if the menus are planned and approved by a chef and dietician, and how special dietary needs are handled. Are meals provided only at scheduled times and is there a coffee shop or café for light snacks?
Recreation & Amenities
Routine physical activity and exercise, as well as social interaction, are key in the prevention and treatment of physical decline and frailty with aging. So make sure that the assisted living/enriched housing community offers wellness programs and activities for residents. Find out if there is a fully equipped fitness center on-site and/or regularly scheduled exercise classes. Ask about other social and cultural activities, as well as educational programs. You may also want to know if there is a beauty salon/barber shop on-site.
Staff & Licensing
First and foremost, you’ll want to know if the community is certified and licensed by the state. Find out if background checks, references and certifications are required for staff, and ensure that the assisted living/enriched housing community is staffed on nights, weekends and holidays. Ask about staff training and what it entails, as well as how long the shifts are and what the turnover rate is. Does staff seem friendly, compassionate and caring? Do they listen and make eye contact with residents?
Transportation to medical appointments is a priority in maintaining good health, so make sure that the assisted living/enriched housing community offers this service. You may also want to ask if the community provides transportation to other places for shopping, religious services and other scheduled outings. If you or your loved one is still driving, find out if residents are permitted to have their own vehicles and if there is a parking fee, as well as the policy for visiting guests.
It’s important to understand the total cost. Make sure you understand what is and is not included, such as utilities or transportation.
Assisted Living / Enriched Housing Communities in Albany NY’s Capital Region
Knowing what to look for in an assisted living or enriched housing community will ensure you find the right fit and best care available. If your search includes the Albany NY area, we invite you take a look at the beautiful Terrace Communities of Eddy Senior Living, located in Slingerlands, Troy, Niskayuna, East Greenbush and Queensbury NY. Call (877) 748-3339 to speak directly with a senior living specialist.