Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tips on Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

If your parent or loved one has made the decision to move to assisted living, congratulations to you both! Now that the hard part of making the decision is over, finding the right facility can be almost as difficult.
Here are some tips and questions to ask in finding the best assisted living facility.
1. All assisted living facilities are regulated by the state. Ask the regulating agency if any formal complaints have been made against the facility and to see copies of inspection reports.
2. Ask the facility to show you the employees certifications and licenses. Ask specifically how medications are managed and to see the certification of the person who administers the medications. It is important to know if residents can use over-the-counter meds themselves. Learn who is responsible for prescription refills.
3. No one wants to move again after adapting to a new home, so learn about the levels of care. Ask if they handle dementia patients. Are there a doctors and nurses on staff? It is important to know under what circumstances they would discharge a resident and how much notice they would give.
4. Check out the social and recreational activities. If possible, talk to some of the residents and their families to see what they like and don't like about the programs. Staff members who have been at the facility a long time provide a good indication of a well run, friendly atmosphere for the residents. Ask about religious services, pets on campus, transportation provided, meal plans and dietary restrictions. Now is the time to know if the residents have a complaint system and an advocate in place. Ask about visitors and family dinners.
5. Last but not least, find out all you can about financial matters before moving your parent into the facility. If a resident can no longer pay, are they out or is there a payment plan? Find out what happens if the resident is admitted to the hospital. Are charges pro-rated? Ask about deposits and refunds. Make sure what is included and what is an extra charge, such as transportation, special meals or activities charges. If your parent is into technology and uses a computer even minimally, find out about internet connections and special charges to connect.

Remember, with the costs of assisted living running on average $2500 to $3000 per month, be certain you are getting the best living arrangement for your money. Happy hunting!

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