People often resist moving from their personal house and into an assisted living facility or retirement community. Going to a nursing home is not limited to people who are elderly. Anyone who needs round the clock care is eligible and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD) estimates that there are about 1.5 million people living in them right now. The number of people residing in nursing or retirement homes is only expected to increase as the baby boomer generation gets older. If you are looking at retirement homes for yourself or a family member, there are things you can do to make the process easier.
5 Tips for Finding the Right Nursing or Retirement Home:
- How clean is it? Yes, there are sometimes spills and other accidents in retirement homes that impact the way they smell and look but you should pay attention to the housekeeping and ask about how frequently the place is cleaned. Check out the corners of rooms and at the windows. Not only will this should the facility’s commitment to keeping everything pleasant for the residents but you can get a sense of what kind of place it is. Make sure you look into their laundry policies. The cleanliness of the personal living spaces and community areas has a direct impact on the quality of life for the people who live there and should not be overlooked. If you find troubling smells or other problems, ask the staff. There could very well be a valid reason for them.
- Look at the outdoor areas. Try to visit retirement homes when the weather is good and people can go outside. Look at how the outdoor areas are maintained and what kinds of activities they have available for their residents to do things outside. Getting outside and into the sunshine has been shown to have a real impact on people’s mental health. Make sure people at the facility are able to at least get out and enjoy nice weather when your region sees it.
- Check in on the different retirement homes during meals or other activities. This can provide you with a good opportunity to see the staff in action, get to see what their activities are like and how the residents respond, what the food is like and what kind of community atmosphere they promote. Does the senior independent living facility hold events that you or your family member would even like? If your mom plays Bridge a lot, you may want to find a community that offers that. Think about what your family member likes to do when you are looking at different retirement homes. The quality of the food will make a huge difference in the quality of life for everyone who lives at the facility. Talk to the other residents over a meal. Try the food. See what you think and what they think. Bad food can really make life harder.
- How friendly and engaged are the staff? Look at how the staff interact with the residents. Do the residents look like they enjoy talking to the staff and vice versa? Working with older people is not a job that is for everyone. How the staff treat the residents of any of the assisted living communities you visit will make a difference in how the people feel about living there. They need to be treated with dignity and respect. Talk to the management and ask all of the questions you have. If the staff or the management cannot find the time to answer your questions before you live there or your family member moves in, they certainly will not make the time for you afterwards.
- Listen to your gut. When you tour retirement homes, listen to what your instincts say. If you have a good or bad feeling about a place, even if you do not have a real reason for it, you should listen to it.
Finding the right retirement community for yourself or someone you love can be hard. It is hard to admit that you or they have reached that stage of their life. Finding the right retirement housing can make a huge difference in your or their quality of life.