Finding the right Assisted Living home can be a daunting task for many children of seniors and their loved ones. There is a lot of information to consider and work to be done when touring facilities and trying to choose the best option. Luckily, there are many great guides out there to help you know what to expect from assisted living, but these can sometimes require a lot of your time to sift through all of the documentation. Because of this, we created The Ins and Outs of Assisted Living Homes, which is a graphical representation (infographic) of what you should expect from an assisted living facility. Make sure you click on the graphic to view the large version so that you can see all of the details.
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What to Look For in an Assisted Living Facility
Ultimately, the assisted living facility you choose must be something that you are comfortable with and that your loved one feels at home in. While this is a must, there are also some basic requirements to consider when searching for an assisted living home:
Assisted Living Rooms:
- Windows – all rooms should have a window to the outside world, as this helps to prevent depression. As people grow older, opening windows can be hard, especially if they require sliding up or down, or left to right. Look for a place with easy open windows that simply push out.
- TV’s – Not all assisted living homes have TV’s in resident rooms, but this is always a nice perk to keep your eye on.
- Wardrobes or closets – Residents should have ample space for personal items, and this place should be private, especially if they are sharing a room. Make sure there is a private closet or wardrobe for your loved one so that they can feel that their items are secure.
- A/C and Heat – Some people run hot, while others run cold. Residents should be able to manage their own room temperature based on what makes them most comfortable.
- Bathrooms – Bathrooms should have grab bars, raised toilet seats, ADA accessible showers with seats, and ample space for walkers and wheelchairs.
- Beds – Beds should not feel like a hospital bed, but should have all of the features of one. Look for beds that have wheels, sidebars, and are low to the ground for ease of getting in and out.
- Hallways and basic floor plan – Hallways, doorways, and the basic floor plan of resident rooms and the entire facility should provide ample space for ease of mobility. Make sure a walker or wheelchair can be used with ease throughout the facility. Even if your loved one doesn’t need one of these aids now, doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.
Assisted Living Amenities and Facility
You should expect a variety of amenities from any assisted living facility. These include:
- 24 hour supervision
- Laundry services and general housekeeping
- Medication management and assistance when needed
- Recreational and spiritual activities
- Help with bathing, dressing, toileting, and more
- Exercise programs for those able
- Transportation services
- 3 healthy meals a day as well as food between meals
- An outdoor garden or patio area to ensure your loved one can spend time outside. If your loved one suffers from dementia, this outdoor area will likely be walled off or gated to ensure they stay on the grounds.
- Common areas for socializing, games, movies, and more
- Bathrooms near common areas, not just in rooms
- A main counter or area where staff can be reached
- At least one dining room for daily meals and snacks as well as a full kitchen
- Easy access to bedrooms from any area of the facility
Questions to Ask About Assisted Living
When touring a facility, there are many questions to ask to ensure you make a confident decision. The most common include:
- Is the facility licensed by the state?
- Is the residential agreement clear and understandable? How do I get out of the agreement? What are the terms of the contract?
- What social activities are there for residents?
- Are shared areas clean?
- Is there a call system for emergencies? Where is it located?
- Have I observed a meal and food prep?
- Do residents seem happy and engaged?
- Are residents clean, healthy, groomed, and odor free?
- Am I involved in the care planning process?
- Are special diets available based on culture, religion, and health?
- Is there food between meals? How does my loved one access it?
- How does the staff interact with the residents? How do they interact with resident families? How does a resident or family work with the staff to file a grievance? What issues require the staff to contact me?
Assisted Living Facts and Figures
Beyond knowing the above information, it is also good to know the general needs of an assisted living resident as well as the average costs of different senior care to ensure that you are choosing an affordable option.
Needs of Assisted Living Residents:
- 40% suffer from cognitive impairments
- 33% use a wheelchair
- 20% need assistance with incontinence
- 75% need assistance with medication
- 60% need help bathing
- 25% need help with toileting
- 5% need help with eating
Average Costs of Senior Care:
- Home Health Costs
- In-home registered nurse assistance: $50 to $100 per hour
- In-home practical or vocational nurse assistance: $35 to $75 per hour
- home health aid assistance: $10 to $20 per hour
- senior companion assistance: $7 to $15 per hour
- adult day care: average $64 per day
- Independent Living Costs: $10,000 to $100,000 initial fee, home purchase price, and varying a la carte service costs
- Assisted Living Costs: average $36,000 per year
- Assisted Living Costs with Memory Care: over $51,000 per year
- Intermediate Care Costs: $53,000 to $142,000 per year
- Skilled Nursing Home Costs: $70,000 to $178,000 per year
Now that you know the above information, hopefully your path to find assisted living will be made easier.