When looking for an assisted living community for a parent or loved one, there are many different factors to take into consideration. Cost, amenities, and location are just some things to look at for each center, but safety concerns are also important. Knowing that the location you choose is as safe and secure as possible can provide you and your loved one with greater peace of mind. Here are some things to ask about when visiting different assisted living communities to find the best possible home for your parent or relative.
On-Duty Medical Staff
Assisted living communities are not the same as nursing homes, so they may not all have medical staff on duty all hours of the day. Ask about medical staffing both during the day and overnight. Some facilities may have registered nurses on-site 24 hours each day, while others may simply have a doctor or nurse practitioner on call. Depending on your loved one's health needs, you may feel more comfortable with trained medical staff available day and night. If the facility only has on-call staff, take into consideration the distance to the nearest hospital or urgent care center. Access to acute medical care is essential, so you want to know that it is always available.
While your loved one may not need 24-hour assistance, it's important to know that the staff is available when help is needed. Your parent or relative may need help with daily dressing and bathing activities, or he or she may need some assistance with cooking safely in the kitchen. Assisted living centers with good staff-to-patient ratios can provide more of the personalized care you want for your parent. When asking about staffing, make sure you also know which types of assistance are offered. You may find that some communities provide more support while others are set up more like independent living centers.
Disaster Preparedness Plans
Severe weather, fires, and other emergencies require a targeted response on the part of the staff to ensure the safety of residents. Assisted living communities provide a particular challenge because of mobility issues and even some cognitive issues. Ask in advance how the staff is trained to handle natural disasters. Be sure you know what the evacuation plans are and how information will be communicated in the event of an emergency. As you tour each facility, look for the presence of smoke detectors, fire alarms, and clearly marked emergency exits. Knowing that your loved one will be taken care of in the event of a natural disaster can help you rest a bit easier.
To learn more, contact an assisted living facility.