How to Pick the Right Senior Care Option: 8 Essential Factors to Consider

Do you have an elderly loved one who needs more help with daily care? Is it becoming too difficult or unsafe for them to live alone? Many more families face these concerns every day.

Our older American population continues to increase. Experts say the elderly population will increase from 56 million to 94.7 million by 2060. Individuals over the age of 84 will increase from 6.7 million to 19 million by 2060.

This translates into increased needs for senior care. This can be a very hard decision for everyone involved. Keep reading to learn about factors to look for when choosing an assisted living facility.

Elderly Woman Playing a Game at Assisted Living HomeWhat Is an Assisted Living Facility?

Assisted living facilities offer housing, personal care services, and health care.

The goal is to optimize choice, independence, autonomy, privacy, and safety. These communities offer a range of living styles.

There’s 24-hour supervision and help with activities and personal care services. Social activities, outings, and recreations promote socialization and decrease loneliness.

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How does Assisted Living differ from a Nursing Home?

Skilled nursing homes care for patients who can’t provide their own self-care or medical treatment. Residents live in private rooms or have a roommate. The staff provides all meals, medications, and treatments.

They also offer help or total provision of toileting, bathing, grooming, and dressing. Staff members also plan social and recreational programs.

What to Look for in an Assisted Living Facility

It’s important to research and visit different senior living communities. The following are some important factors to consider.   We recommend you schedule a tour with any assisted living facility that you are interested in to gain the best experience.

1. Resident Qualifications for Assisted Living

Individuals must not require total dependent care. Assisted living facilities provide help with daily activities as needed. This includes fun activities, wellness, cognitive and physical exercises,  personal care, mobility, managing medications, preparing meals, and household chores.

The National Council for Aging lists signs that a person can benefit from assisted living. Each facility establishes their qualifications for resident’s independent living levels.

You may wish to begin by making a list of the services your loved one needs. This will help explain the care you’re looking for. Does your loved one need help with the following:

  • Bathing or showing due to increased weakness
  • Cognitive issues such as remembering take medicines
  • Loss of participation in hobbies or activities they used to enjoy
  • Signs of addiction, depression, or lack of interest in self-care or upkeep of their living-area

Assisted living facilities offer different levels of care and interaction. Look for services that you believe will help improve these problems and increase joy.

2. Payment Options for Assisted Living

Payment options are an important consideration when choosing an assisted living facility. There are several avenues to consider:

  • Private long-term care insurance policies may offer assistance
  • Medicare assistance is often very limited
  • Veteran Administration’s Aid and Attendance provides benefits for assisted living

Personal investment options may offer a way to pay for assisted living. This may be less secure because it’s based on financial transactions. Some people sell their loved one’s homes to fund assisted living care.

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3. Memory Care

Memory Care at Cape Albeon Assisted Living

For people with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, memory care offers a specialized approach. These facilities use staff who’ve received specific training in caring for these residents. This environment offers a high level of safety and security.

The staff closely monitors the resident’s health and safety. They develop programs, activities, and events focused on helping residents work on cognitive abilities. Often this involved participation in hobbies that they enjoy.

Residents participate in a full social calendar and gentle daily planned structure. This helps them maintain their abilities and skills.

4. Living Space Options

When evaluating a facility, find out what options they have for living spaces. Some examples include:

  • Private apartments
  • Condominiums
  • Private rooms
  • Shared rooms
  • “Wired rooms” that contain monitoring for the resident’s safety and well being

Memory care rooms are often smaller offering more comfort for individuals with dementia. Many times, these individuals are happier when they live with a roommate. Appliances, such as microwaves, are often removed to prevent accidents.

Some facilities are like high-rise apartments while others are small enclosed communities

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services5. Facility Licensure for Senior Care

Each state establishes its licensure and certification process for assisted living facilities.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services oversees senior care homes.

The Section for Long-Term Care Regulation inspects assisted living facilities and issues licenses.

To find out if a facility has state licensure, go to the state’s website for assisted living facilities.

Cape Albeon is proud to be a leading and licensed assisted living facility with the State of Missouri.

6. Services Offered

When you tour the facility, make note of the resident’s appearance. Do they look clean, active, and happy? Does the facility look and smell clean and appealing?

Make a list of questions about the specific services they offer. Here are a few suggestions to get your list started.

  • Are there 3 meals provided each day?
  • Can the individual cook some or all their meals?
  • How many exercise and wellness programs are offered each week?
  • Are there cleaning and maintenance services available on a regular basis?
  • Are there medical professionals to help with taking medications and completing treatments?
  • Is there 24-hour supervision and assistance available?
  • How many and what type of social and recreational programs are offered?

For many individuals, participation in faith-based activities is an important part of their life. Be sure to ask if the facility offers this option. Does this fit with your spiritual beliefs?

Review Cape Albeon’s Spiritual Difference to understand the specific spiritual services we offer our wonderful residents.

Beautiful Landscape at Cape Albeon Assisted Living7. Outdoor Space

Another thing to ask about on your tour is what kind of outdoor spaces residents can visit.

Ask to take a walk in the area. Some facilities have walking paths with handrails.

Look for boundary walls to protect your loved one from accidentally leaving.

Do the green (or blue) spaces have pleasant landscaping and places to sit and relax?  It’s so important for seniors to enjoy the landscape.

Cape Albeon is well known for its beautiful lakeside living!

8. Security

Strict security protocols for entrances and exits increase the resident’s safety. Find out what the facilities’ security protocols involve. Will they provide protection from residents leaving the facility and unauthorized access?

Are You Exploring the Assisted Living Facility Option?

Choosing a senior care facility is a difficult and complicated process. This article has provided tips for finding the best choice.

If you live in the St. Louis area, Cape Albeon offers several options for senior care. We provide the best in retirement cottages and apartments as well as assisted living apartments. Our experienced staff also provides memory care and short-term respite care.

If you’re looking for this level of quality, personal care, schedule your tour of our facilities today.  We’d love to meet with you, listen to your needs, and walk you through our amazing property.

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