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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Right Questions to Ask When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

Looking for an assisted living center for your aging loved one can cause high anxiety. You want your relative to be happy, safe, and healthy, but you might not have confidence in your ability to select the right place, particularly if you have never gone through this process before.

Here is a sampling of the right questions to ask when choosing an assisted living facility. A California estate planning attorney can provide additional guidance and draft legal documents to make sure your loved one is protected and prepared.

How Many Residents Live at the Facility and at What Level of Assistance?

When there are enough residents, the facility is likely to have more variety in its activities, food options, floor plans, and other features than a smaller center. Also, there might be more diversity of people and their backgrounds at a larger facility.

The level of care matters because you will want to know if the staffing will meet the needs of the residents. The level of care can range from primarily independent individuals who wanted to move into a senior development before they needed much assistance to people who need daily assistance with medical treatments, grooming, dressing, cooking, or other things.

One hundred residents who need a high level of care will need far more trained staff members than 100 independent residents. Because peoples’ needs can change as they age, you will want to know what is involved in switching from one level of care to another.

How Many Staff Members Do You Have for Each Level of Assistance and How Well Trained Are They?

You will want to be sure that there are plenty of staff members with professional medical training like R.N.s and L.P.N.s, including during the overnight hours, weekends, and holidays. Make sure that the center provides precise numbers of staff members by degree and does not lump them all together as “healthcare workers,” which could include nurses’ aides and others with limited medical skills.

What Can Your Loved One Expect Upon Arrival?

Adjusting to assisted living can be a challenge for many older adults. The facility should convince you that they treat new residents with sensitivity and have structured protocols designed to help new residents settle in, meet other residents, and feel at home.

What Will Your Loved One’s Day and Month Look Like?

You will want a facility that provides a generous variety of ongoing activities as well as regular additions to the schedule with the seasons and holidays. Residents will benefit from the predictability of their favorite activities balanced with new, fresh items to prevent boredom. Ask to see the social calendars for the previous year and upcoming months.

The Daily Bread

Few things bring more joy or annoyance than food. You will want to look at the menus for several months to see if the facility offers high-quality, nutritious food that is also delicious. Find out what accommodations the center makes for people with food preferences, sensitivities, and allergies, as well as religious issues. Schedule a time to eat a meal or two at the facility and pay attention to whether they have a variety of foodservice styles, like a buffet, family-style dining, or ordering from a menu as in a restaurant.

How The Facility Handles Crises

A professional facility will have a well-practiced safety plan for foreseeable crises. Ask about the nearest hospital and emergency room. Have the administrators explain their evacuation plan for fires or other emergencies. Find out how the center safeguards people with memory and confusion issues.

This is merely the beginning of this important conversation. A California Estate Planning Attorney can help you take steps to protect your aging loved one. Get in touch with our office today, we gladly offer a free consultation.


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