Following up on our recent blog post about nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and independent living centers and the differences between them, let’s take some time to look at the next step you should take when investigating eldercare facilities in your area. Once you’ve decided on the level of care you need and know what you can afford, you should then begin investigating potential facilities that meet your needs. Here is what you can do.
Visit in Person
You definitely want to visit each facility personally so you can look around and ask questions. It’s also a good idea to make an appointment to visit the facility and then, if you like it, come back once or twice without an appointment. You can usually do this more easily at meal times.
Listen and Observe
Apart from speaking to staff and residents you can often get a good idea of how a facility operates by taking the time to quietly observe interactions between staff and residents, as well as between residents themselves. What is the mood in the facility? Do the residents seem withdrawn or engaged? Does the staff treat the residents with respect or do they speak to them like children?
Review all Documents
If you’re ready to move ahead with your decision you should ask for a copy of the facility’s rental or resident contract. You will want to review this very carefully. It’s also a good idea to take it to your estate planning lawyer and ask him or her to go over the fine details with you.