If you have elderly parents, grandparents, or relatives who are struggling to remain independent, it can be difficult to know how you can best support them. There may be resistance from your loved one about leaving their own home and moving in with a family member isn’t always a practical solution. For many elderly people, their reservations are a result of being afraid of the unknown. Their home is a safe place that they have worked hard for and put time and effort into maintaining. It is natural that they want to stay there if possible. Finding the right facility for your loved one can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what to look for. These tips will help you find the perfect home for them to enjoy their golden years.
Location is likely to play a big part in your decision, especially if you want to be able to visit regularly. As loneliness has an impact on both physical and mental wellbeing, finding a facility that you can get to easily is important. Be sure to carry out practice runs at different times of day, timing your journey from door to door. You won’t necessarily opt for the nearest, but it is important to take into account travel time when making a decision.
Placing a loved one into the care of strangers can be tough, so choosing a facility with staff you like and trust is vital. Spend time talking to staff when you visit and ask if they operate a key worker system, where one staff member is buddied up with a resident. This can go a long way to replicating a family feel and help your loved one feel happy and safe. Ask about the qualifications and experience staff have and how long they have worked there – high staff turnover can be a warning sign.
Costs vary between settings and not all include the same extras in their rates. Check exactly what the fees are and what that covers. Are meals included? Amenities? Service charges? At an already difficult time, you don’t want to get stung financially because you didn’t ask the right questions.
When you visit, ask to see all the facilities on offer to get an overall view of the facility and decide which one out of memory care versus nursing home meets your needs. If your family member is sociable, a large communal area will be a priority so they can mix with others. Perhaps they enjoy being outside, in which case you will want somewhere with gardens they can enjoy in good weather. Ask if they have outside specialists who visit such as physical therapists or if they have regular entertainment (bingo, visiting musicians, quiz nights). These are elements that will impact the quality of life your loved one will experience should you choose the facility.
Visit multiple facilities, ask friends for recommendations and trust your gut instinct. Often it will tell you whether you are making the right choice.