Assisted Living Facilities: Critical Data to Research

Making the decision to place one or both of your parents in an assisted living facility (ALF) can be  difficult. It’s an emotional time when the senior needs full or part time help to meet their basic daily needs and it’s time to move out of their home. What can make the decision even more difficult is that there are thousands of assisted living options to choose from and at a time when you most want to make the right decision, it can be difficult to know what that is. 

We won’t deal with all the considerations here, however there are two primary ones we will discuss that deal with getting information about ALFs in your area that may not be provided by those facilities.  SCJ recommends the following two steps be among those you walk when helping a parent or elder friend choose an ALF:

  • It is critical to visit a variety of facilities, likely several times, to find what you and your parent(s) or the elder person you are assisting are comfortable with.  You won’t be able to get a conclusive feeling about any assisted living center without visiting in person. Make sure to visit a few times, during different times of the day and week, and make some observations. Do the attendants seem busy and rushed? Are the residents active? Are people friendly? Is the center clean and attractive? Nobody is going to know what living in the center is like better than those that have already made the place their home. During your visit, make sure that you speak to some of the residents and find out how they enjoy living there. Also speak to the staff and get a feel for their comfort level working there. Not only will unhappy staff indicate that the company may be neglectful but also that they may not enjoy working with seniors and so, not provide good elder care.  This step helps you develop intuition about the facility, intuition you will need to trust when the choice is made.
  • Next, check the reputation and history of the facilities you are considering online.  Every state in the country has a website; within those sites, you will find pages dealing with nursing homes that must be accredited by state authorities.  The scores of assisted living facilities are reported on that website; the facilities you are considering will have ratings that will show how their care and services fare against the standards of the industry. Another place to check is the Better Business Bureau, either online or in person; many times, complaints will be registered with the local BBB.  County court records will reveal information about any lawsuits against the facility(s) you are considering. 

Be sure you share the information you collect with your parent or elder friend; the final choice is one made by both you and the person you are assisting.  Other SCJ articles address the entire list of steps one needs to consider when choosing an ALF.  Take a look at them!