Making the decision to move into a retirement home as a senior citizen can be a daunting and unexpected prospect, but, for many, it makes the most sense, as they will have round-the-clock care without having to worry about caring for a home that is too large. However, you want to be careful about which facility you choose to ensure that the level of care and professionalism is up to par.
Unfortunately, family members often want to care for their elderly relatives but may not have the time or resources to provide them with proper medical attention. Do your research ahead of time to learn about the facility’s condition and quality of care, and then take precautions like keeping your valuables, like gold jewelry or family heirlooms in a safe place to prevent your items from being stolen, lost, or damaged.
Do Your Research on Your Facility
The most important step to take before committing to a retirement center is to conduct thorough research into the facility to find out about any potentially sketchy activity. We cannot stress enough how crucial it is to look into the track record of each and every facility that you’re considering. Some facilities are known to cover up unethical practices and even abusive tendencies.
Seniors who do not have many close family members are at more of a disadvantage because they may not have the extra support to ensure that their family member is being cared for. It’s also important to enlist the help of someone else when selecting your facility. For more information about your facility, check out the government-sponsored Nursing Home Compare site to compare rates, equipment, and resources.
Plan a Tour Ahead of Time
Before selecting a nursing home, make a list of different centers in your area that may potentially be the right option for you. A nursing home may sound great from the website, but, once you tour the location, you may see some very different conditions. Bring a trusted friend or family member along with you to tour several different facilities and get a sense of their amenities, including activities, food, the quality of care, and the professional level of staff members. It’s also a good idea to look for reviews or ask for word-of-word recommendations from others in your area.
Inquire About the Emergency Procedures
Although they only happen occasionally, it’s important to check with your facility’s preparation for certain types of emergency or natural disaster situations. If your nursing home is not properly prepared, it may lead to chaotic procedures that are uncomfortable and even dangerous for patients and residents. The current novel coronavirus situation in nursing homes is an example of how things can quickly go south.
For some people living in particular areas of the country––for example, California, where there are often earthquakes, or South Carolina, known for several hurricanes per year––this question is even more important, as it’s more likely that you will encounter this situation during your residency at the nursing home. Not only do you want to know about preparations and travel plans, but you’ll also want to ask about how your personal belongings and other valuables will be secured during the protocol.
Well-Lit Hallways and Rooms
One of the first things that you’ll want to look out for when touring several senior facilities is the quality and level of brightness in the hallways. Any nursing home that is dimly lit in common areas should be a big red flag. Most elderly people struggle with some degree of eyesight issues or problems walking. Without well-lit halls and rooms to help ensure that the residents can easily see where they are going, it’s highly probable that they will struggle with walking and end up hurting themselves in the facility that is supposed to keep them safe.
Safety Alarm Systems
Another element to look out for is an alarm feature that can quickly and easily alert the staff and any safety issues. Again, senior people often fall or slip and hurt themselves but are unable to get up on their own. Your senior living facility should absolutely have an alert system to help each resident get help as quickly as possible regardless of the situation.
This system should extend beyond just individual rooms and offer areas to call for help throughout the building, as well as well-staffed areas to provide quick help from the aides as soon as a problem arises. A few other safety features to keep in mind are handrails in bathrooms, chairs, and wheelchairs with arm supports, and walkways that are clear of obstacles.
Because there are many people who are constantly entering and leaving these types of senior facilities, it’s essential to have a security team keeping an eye on activities in the building. The staff needs to be coming in and out of rooms all day and night long to ensure that its patients are getting proper attention and providing medication at specific times.
However, guests are also usually visiting their relatives or friends regularly, as well, to check up on the quality of care that they are receiving as well as provide the resident with the company. Without restricting this movement, the facility needs to hire a well-trained security staff person who monitors and tracks those who check-in and out of the building to prevent unsafe situations.
When looking into the professionalism of the nursing homes you are considering, look for any mentions of improper administration of medication. This could refer to staff members over-prescribing unnecessary medications or under-providing medications that patients absolutely need to help their conditions. Do some research on their medication administration and ask one of your family members to keep close track of the exact medications that they are being prescribed and regularly check in on the medication schedule.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe
Protect your best interests before committing to a new senior living center. You want to ensure that you’re going to be living in a place where your valuable belongings like gold jewelry are going to be safe and secure in addition to a place where you will receive a high level of care.
Ask someone that you trust to help you examine all of the options and ask important questions about safety features, medication procedures, and security. Once you feel confident in your selection, make sure that all of your expectations are met and ask a family member to check on you regularly and ensure you’re receiving proper care.