There are many factors to consider as you explore various residential care facility options. It is very important to keep in mind not only the needs of your loved one who will be living in the residential care facility, but to also take into account your own needs and the needs of the rest of your family.
There are many checklists and guides that can help you on the way to making the best decision for everyone involved. It may not necessarily be an easy decision to make, but if you take into account all the right factors and approach things with an open mind, you will be able to take some of the stress out of the decision making process of finding the right residential care facility.
The first thing to do is to determine the level of care that your loved one needs and then start looking at facilities based upon that information.
Be honest with yourself about the care that will be required and also be honest with the staff at any facility you consider. Finding the correct placement for your loved one is a crucial part of the process and you need to make sure that any and all physical and cognitive impairments are taken into account. You not only want to think about the present needs of your loved one, but also future needs that may come up. Particularly, progressive illness need to be consider so that you can determine if a given facility will still be providing adequate care into the future.
Many facilities allow a patient to move from one level to the next while staying in the same facility and it is important to know in advance who will be making the decision to move the patient into higher levels of care; the resident, the family, or the facility.
The next important aspect that must be considered is the finances and how you will handle paying for the facility.
There should be a clear chain as to who is paying for the residential care. For example, if the resident is paying for their own care and their own funds become depleted, what happens next? Medicaid eligibility must be taken into account and you need to know the rules in your particular state so that you can plan accordingly. There needs to be complete clarity as to what this care will cost now, but also into the future so that there are no surprises down the line. Some facilities will have automatic yearly increases to account for the rising costs that the facility has to deal with. You need to know what these will be and if they are limited to a certain percentage or not.
You may also want to consider the size of the facility. Obviously there are many different residential care facilities and some of them are large and some small. What will fit your loved one the best? You need to take into account not only the level of care that they will require, but also how they tend to interact socially. For example, some people could be uncomfortable with a larger facility that houses a lot of people. Many people, particularly as they get older appreciate a calm, peaceful environment. However, by contrast, a younger patient may be more interested in the amount of activities that are available within a certain facility.
Different facilities offer different social events and activities so it is important to think of what your loved one really enjoys.
Geography is another important factor to consider. The closer the care facility is to where you and your family live, the more often you will be able to visit and just drop in. Not only that, proximity will also greatly help you in scheduling doctor’s appointments, dentists and hair dressers, and even things like shopping or church services.
You want to make things easier on yourself as well as your loved one and moving them into a facility that is a long distance away from you, will probably not turn out to be ideal in the long run. If it is necessary for long distance facility to be used, then you may want to consider where other family members live who can help as well. Many times there may even friends or neighbors as well as other family members who will want to visit.
With any facility that you are considering, you should take the time to visit and explore it yourself. Talk with some of the residents that have been living there for a while and see what they have to say about the facility, both good and bad.
- Take the time to have a meal and find out what the food is like.
- Chat with the staff and watch how they interact with the residents.
- Watching the staff in action is a great way to make sure that your loved one will be taken care of in a kind and loving manner.
- Take into account your gut reaction to the environment because your loved one is going to have reactions to it as well.
- Do you like the looks of the place? How does it smell?
All of these things may seem minor but they are something that your loved one will have to deal with every single day.
If a facility doesn’t ‘feel’ right, it probably isn’t right.
Another great way to get the feel of a facility is to observe some of the activities as they are taking place. Think about whether they are the types of things that your loved one would be interested in or not. Most facilities will have an activity schedule. Find out what it is as well as things like religious services and when they take place. Find out which holidays are celebrated and to what extent. All of this will be very important to your loved one over time and having all the information possible from the beginning will help you make the proper decision for everyone involved.