This type of facility can be a great choice, particularly for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The home-like setting more closely resembles their own home, and may decrease agitation and stress. While many of these assisted living homes are secure, locked facilities, the freedom to move about the home and freely access the back yard feel less restrictive. The smaller staff-to-resident ratio means a closer relationship. Staff members soon know the likes and dislikes of the residents, and are more apt to notice when a resident is ill or needs medical attention.
It’s vital to personally visit as many different facilities as possible. Keep an open mind; don’t dismiss a facility until you’ve actually had the opportunity to evaluate it. Most facilities welcome visitors, and will be happy to show you around and talk about what they offer. Ask questions. If they aren’t answered to your satisfaction, that’s a bad sign. Think about the personality of the potential resident. Would they be happy here? Some people like the social aspects of a large complex, but still appreciate that they can retreat to their own unit for some quiet reading. Others will feel more comfortable in the family-like environment of a small private-home facility.
Also ask about activities, on-site medical and dental services, staff-to-resident ratios, meal preparation and service, and other things that you find personally important. Be up-front about special needs, and whether or not the potential resident is ambulatory. Many assisted living facilities provide only minimal assistance and may require you to move to a nursing home level of care if you have mobility issues or need more help with daily living activities. The smaller home-type facilities are more likely to be willing and able to provide more assistance as the resident requires it.
It’s a decision that many will have to make at some point. Arm yourself with the best information, and don’t skimp on the visits or the questions. After all, you’re paying for the room and board and additional services, so it only makes sense to get what you need and want, in a setting that feels comfortable.