Choosing the perfect assisted living community for yourself or a family member can be overwhelming. It’s one of the most important decisions you will ever make and cannot be entered lightly. Take time to consider factors important to you; and, as you tour assisted living communities, consider the quality of care you or your family member may receive. Focus on finding a community that will keep you happy and healthy, now and for many years to come.
What is Assisted Living?
Before going any further, let’s briefly look at what assisted living is. Assisted living is a smart choice for someone who still retains some measure of independence but is unable to live on their own. It’s the perfect choice for someone who has physical or cognitive limitations and requires assistance. It’s a long-term care option for older adults who need assistance with activities of daily living, often referred to as ADLs. Assisted living is not an option for someone who requires more medically intensive skilled nursing care. In an assisted living community, residents receive personal care and support, housing, entrées and take part in social activities. Someone is available around the clock to provide assistance whenever it is needed.
Things to Consider When Touring a California Assisted Living Community
An assisted living community is a great option for someone who needs assistance in managing their day-to-day life. Touring various communities is an important step as you move forward to find the best option for you or a family member. By keeping a few things in mind, you’ll be prepared to make a more informed choice.
Community cleanliness is not one of the first things you may want to consider, but this may be one of the first you need to consider. Cleanliness may reveal the level of pride a community has and indicates how much they care about the environment being provided for residents. And, smell is a powerful sense and triggers many strong emotions and memories, it cannot be ignored.
As you consider a community’s cleanliness, be sure to look beyond the furnishings – look at the baseboards, windows and corners. Ask how frequently housekeeping is provided, laundry procedures, types of maintenance available and estimated response times to maintenance requests. Be sure to get specifics of each item and costs of all services.
Try to schedule your tour to coincide with an event in the community. Ask to observe the activity and even to participate. Note both resident and staff enjoyment of the activity and their interaction with each other. Observe and ask if events are well attended.
Ask to see the community’s events calendar. Does the calendar have events that you or your family member would enjoy? Ask how activities are planned to discover if the residents’ hobbies and interests are taken into consideration. Do events vary in type and size? Does the community provide frequent and enjoyable outings away from the community? If important to you, ask how religious preferences and services are addressed.
Visit more than once and at different times of the day. Try to visit when an activity that the potential resident would enjoy is taking place.
Good food is very important to the enjoyment of life. Visit during a meal to see how well you and your family member enjoys the food, how the food is handled and how it tastes. It’s also a good time to get an opportunity to meet some of the residents. Ask how food preferences are handled and dietary needs met. Do residents who struggle receive the assistance they need? Be sure to discuss entrée choices and learn about food preparation procedures and dining hours. Find out how dining is handled when a resident cannot come to the dining room for a meal.
Staff interact with the residents frequently in an assisted living community; therefore, the attitude and friendliness of the staff lay the groundwork for the enjoyment of life in the community. As you tour, observe how various team members interact with the residents. Do staff treat residents with respect, dignity? Do staff appear to be happy and enjoy interacting with the residents? Do they smile and make eye contact? Are they patient and take time to listen to and care for the residents? Make sure to meet and talk to the management team, asking about the goals for the community. Ask to talk to some team members to get a feel of how well they enjoy their jobs.
Be sure to ask about staff qualifications when hired. Most communities require their team be certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who are trained to care for older adults. Find out what types of training team members receive and how frequently ongoing training takes place.
Ask about team to resident ratio. This ratio is a simple reflection of the number of staff members on the clock at any given time who can provide services against the number of residents who may need their help. Team to resident ratios at assisted living communities are not nationally regulated so it’s a good idea to compare the community’s number to what is required by the state and local laws. These ratios give you a good idea about whether someone will be available when you or your family member needs assistance.
Community Safety and Security
Safety and security are both important. Are bathrooms with grab bars easily accessible and conveniently located throughout the community? Do residents have call buttons in their rooms and in the publicly shared bathrooms? If not, how do residents contact staff in the event of an emergency? How often are residents checked on throughout the day?
Ask about safety and security features, both in the community as a whole and in the private living areas. How are emergencies handled? How are residents’ medications stored and dispensed? Be sure to ask specific questions to address your specific medical needs to make sure they will be met.
Trust Your Instincts
Last, but not least, trust your instincts. As you consider yourself or your family member actually living in the community, how does that make you feel? Does it make you feel at ease? Can you see you or your family member comfortable and happy, with needs being met?
California Assisted Living at Forest Hill
Ultimately, the decision of where to live is yours, so take whatever time you need to consider all your options carefully. Which community best meets your needs and desires? Where will you or your family member be the happiest? Consider what factors are most important to you and find the community that best ticks off the boxes on your list.
If you are searching for a California assisted living community, you can’t beat Forest Hill, a full-service retirement community located in Monterey. It offers great views of the bay and is perfectly located … just a short drive from Salinas and San Jose.
Another great thing about Forest Hill is it’s a continuing care retirement community; so, you won’t have to face the prospect of locating another community. Since we offer a full spectrum of care, independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care, you will always have a home with us. As your wellness needs change, we’ll be able to meet them. Contact us to schedule a tour.