If the search to find an assisted living facility is meant for someone very close to you, you would naturally want to find a place that can offer a comfortable, carefree, healthy, happy, and medically prepared environment to that person. In an ideal world, every geriatric care and assisted living facility should be capable of providing everything that seniors need, but we do not live in an ideal world. Therefore, you should be extra careful before letting an assisted care facility take over the responsibility. The only problem is, how will you know whether it’s a capable housing facility or not? That’s precisely what we are going to discuss next.
Reputation is not everything when it comes to choosing geriatric care, but it is a start. Do not just trust the name, though, because even large, multistate, assisted living facilities have previously been accused of underhanded conduct. Despite exceptions, a highly reputed assisted living facility is much less likely to take any steps that might tarnish their good reputation.
A 2020 study added three new factors that increase one’s chances of getting Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as accelerating the disease’s rate of progression in those that already have it. One of those major factors was exposure to polluted air in middle age through to old age. Therefore, the necessity of finding a pollution-free location is a serious requirement for your beloved senior’s wellbeing, and not just a bonus feature.
There is a direct relationship between our mental and physical wellbeing and the surrounding environment, especially when it comes to children and seniors. An assisted living facility should be located in a quiet place with scenic views and lots of fresh air. Take a look at the Brandywine Colts Neck (Reflections) assisted living community, which is located in one of the most beautiful places in the whole county area.
Loneliness is a cause of depression, while both loneliness and depression are cited by neuroscientists as two established factors that can lead to Alzheimer’s or quicken its progression. For many seniors, both are almost an inevitability because:
- Children move out and into their own homes.
- The frequency of visits often becomes far and few in between.
- They might be left completely alone at home if the concerned individual is/becomes a bachelor/spinster/widow/widower.
- The loss or lack of a partner in old age often leads to heavy, clinical depression.
- Seniors are often left without any friends since they might have lost touch with most of them, and the others could be living too far away to meet up regularly.
- After a certain age, the news of a friend’s death is something that seniors must deal with far too often.
- Elders will eventually become more susceptible to emotional pain than they were in their youth.
- Depression and loneliness lead to heavy smoking and/or drinking, both of which are directly related to Alzheimer’s.
These are just a few of the many causes that either bring about or worsen neurodegeneration in lonely and gloomy elders. As we can see from these examples, they mostly stem from a sense of loss and loneliness. This is exactly why you should only consider senior care facilities that have a community for your elder family member to mingle with. As long as they are around people, and their depression is being addressed via a geriatric counselor regularly, their condition will improve.
It’s a bit tricky to find out whether the staff will actually be friendly or not, but it is not entirely impossible. Any decent assisted living facility should not have any issues with letting you talk to the staff, and just in case they seem reluctant, it’s a bad sign. Show up unannounced and without your family member at some of the facilities on your shortlist to ask them your questions.
Ask to talk to the staff and see the facility in full too. If we are discussing an assisted care facility, the guests there should not be restricted to visiting hours, but you should still show up within reasonable hours, of course. If allowed, talk to a few guests, and see what they say about their own experience while living there. Be intuitive during your visit and you should be able to detect the environment easily enough.
This is one of the most important part of your selection process. Is the facility independently equipped to deal with common mild also and serious medical issues? Of course, they will likely move a guest to a hospital soon after a serious health complication, but there should be primary and secondary care facilities inside the community itself to at least stabilize the patient. Older generations without any neurodegenerative disorders also move into these communities because of their medical readiness. In case the facility lacks the necessary medical setup, it’s not an ideal place for your family member.
Finally, we come to assistance, which is what assisted living is all about. Assistance could mean different things for different members of the community, depending on their mental/physical conditions. However, the basic note here is that it should be able to provide each member of the community with the care and assistance that they need. Some in advanced stages of dementia may require assistance with everything from feeding to cleaning, while others may only need someone to talk to.
An important point to remember is that the facility will likely ask for all your family member’s medical records. Be sure to let the caretakers know everything about the senior’s present physical, mental, and medical conditions. This will allow the elder care facility to assess whether they have the necessary facilities for housing him/her safely. Even for a highly capable, assisted living facility, knowing everything about their new guest is really important, as they will be able to arrange for the safest, most comfortable, and happy living conditions accordingly. Their doctors should also be ready for probably health complications should they arise during his/her stay in the community.