If you are just beginning your search for an assisted living community, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here is a list of six questions we adapted after looking at various online resources, including one at APlaceForMom.com and PBS Frontline.
What are your needs?
The first thing to do is to figure out, as much as possible, what your needs are now and what they are likely to be in the future. This is especially true if there is a family history of dementia, but it’s important for other conditions as well. According to a 2009 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, about 46 percent of residents in assisted living communities have at least three chronic conditions, but only 54 percent of facilities have a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse on staff.
How is staff trained/What are their qualifications?
Village Green does have an RN on staff, which is a huge benefit especially for long-distance caregivers who want confirmation that their loved one is recovering from a minor illness. The RN can check in with residents and monitor various health concerns, but assisted living facilities are not licensed to provide daily skilled nursing care. Residents in assisted living communities often need help with one or more activities of daily living, from bathing to medication management and meal preparation, but if your loved one needs medical assistance, a skilled nursing facility is the more appropriate setting.
Have you visited?
Taking a tour with an admissions director is a good starting place. Scheduling your tour so that you can eat a meal at the facility is even better. Take the time to talk with other residents and staff members. If the first visit goes well, you might want to visit a couple more times at different times of the day and ask if you can sit in on any activities or join the community for a special event like a Memorial Day celebration.
What are the true costs?
In 2012, the national average for an assisted living facility was about $3,500 per month, according to a survey by MetLife. In most cases, the base rate covers the cost of an apartment, utilities, weekly housekeeping, 24/7 security, a meal plan and access to all community amenities, including a weekly activity schedule. Many assisted living communities use a point system to determine the level of care a resident needs and then each resident is assessed an additional monthly fee according to their care level. Make sure you understand what the total monthly cost would be for you or your loved one and how that cost would increase as the level of care increases.
What is in the admissions agreement?
Admissions agreements can be lengthy and complicated, so experts advise taking your time to read them carefully. Make sure you understand everything in the document and ask for clarification if you don’t. Under what circumstances would a resident be asked (or required) to leave the community? If a resident does leave, either for medical or behavioral reasons or by choice, what is the process for moving out? What are the costs associated with moving out? What is the process of handling any disputes or grievances?
Where is the facility?
Location is important, but it’s not the most important factor. Finding a community where your loved one will be safe, well-cared for and happy is more important. All things being equal, closer might be better, but rarely are all things equal, so don’t dismiss a facility that is 10 or 15 minutes farther away.
If you or a loved one is looking for an assisted living community, call us today at Village Green Retirement Campus and come see what we have to offer.