It is funny isn’t it? When we are looking for our “dream home,” we have all sorts of features that we need/want. We may expect a big backyard, two-car garage, natural light, or walk-in closets. However, when it comes to finding long-term care options for our loved ones or for ourselves, we have a much harder time knowing what to look for.
Yes, you need to be able to pay for the facility, it must have the right level of supervision and care, and location is always important – but where do you go beyond that? These are four features that we believe a good long-term care facility should have.
Tip #1 – A good first impression
You should always feel free to trust your first impression when you walk into a long-term care facility. Make sure that you also use all your senses. Are there spaces for quiet and for conversation or is the television just blaring loudly to keep people subdued? Is the place pleasingly decorated and well lit? Is there an industrial or unpleasant odor in the air or does it smell pleasant when you come in?
When walking through the facility, remember that this needs to feel like a home rather than an institution. The sense of security, lighting, and layout all need to be adequate. Pay attention to the common rooms as well rather than just the private room – because residents tend to spend a great deal of time gather in those common rooms.
Tip #2 – The food needs to be good
There is one social engagement on everyone’s calendar and it is not swim classes or bingo – meals. Because meals often serve as the primary activity of the day, it is important that the food is good enough to eat every day of the week. It is also good to see if there is a variety of options available. You also want to make sure that dietary restrictions and preferences are manageable and whether a daytime snack might be an option.
Tip #3 – The staff-to-patient ratio
Most good long-term care facilities will do what they can to ensure the resident’s autonomy and independence for as long as possible. That does not mean that residents are left to their own devices though. This is why any care facility should be judged on their staff-to-patient ratio as well.
It is also important to understand that good patient care is not just a number’s game. Unless residents see their caregivers regularly, they are not likely to feel comfortable and may not trust them with sensitive tasks. Caregiving should not a revolving door.
Tip #4 – The other residents
Your own personal space and food are important to making a decision – but how are the other residents? Is everyone well-groomed and clean? This shows that people are being taken care of. Are people participating in activities and moving around, or do they stay in their own room? You want a location where other residents are going to be warm and open.
We understand that the decision process can become rather overwhelming. That is why we offer more help at www.carltonseniorliving.com. You can learn more about possible decision making from our professional staff, or look at the different options available for housing.