Objectively assessing the merits of a slew of assisted living facilities can be confusing, exhausting, and demoralizing. It is a question of vital concern, whether for the person seeking or for a loved one. Features can include matters of amenities, levels of individualized care, ranges of activities to pursue, welcomeness to friends and family, and basic levels of cleanliness, safety, and homeyness.
The question is so important because, unlike situations where the person looking or their loved one is completely cared for, assisted living homes involve certain degrees of autonomy. There is a balance to be found between levels of care and freedom. Many people have sought out the most expensive, resort-like assisted living facility within their budgets, only to find that the level of care was wrong for their individual needs. Knowing the best features to look for will help to avoid making this mistake.
Answer: There are a variety of features to look for, but safety and the ability to maintain mental and physical health stand above
The first feature to look for is cleanliness. If the place has a persistent odor, it is not ideal for the well-being of loved ones. The second is finding the right degree of care and oversight. A largely independent resident will not, for example, be approving of a residence that has a curfew and strict times for lights being turned out and people in bed. Some residents do require that level of oversight, however. It all depends on a case by case basis. Potential residents and their loved ones should find a care facility that has individualized plans to fit each person's unique needs.
An important feature to keep in mind is that a comfortable assisted living residence should be designed to feel as much like home as possible. This can help ease the traumatic experience of going from home and complete independence to a community where assistance is at hand. The actual apartment should have all the features desired; this might be a patio or kitchenette for entertaining or an extra bedroom for guests. Some would-be residents would prefer already furnished apartments, while others want to keep their own furniture. Some have a pet that they wish to accompany them, and not all assisted living communities allow animals. Comfortable common areas should also be sought. These can be libraries, swimming pools, game rooms, and other activity centers. Loneliness can be the bane of the elderly and disabled.
Given that loneliness can be such a problem, a final ideal feature to look for in assisted living communities is having space and opportunity for activities that enrich the soul. This can be space for an avid gardener to pursue his or her passion, exercise classes for the fit-conscious, continuing education classes for those who wish to continue broadening their minds, arts and crafts, or access to transportation for local events such as cultural fairs.
This is a brief overview of some of the top features to be sought when looking at potential assisted living residences. Other resources to check out include:
- WebMD - WebMD is a widely acclaimed website with a content staff that is known for blending award-winning expertise in health communication, medicine, and journalism. This site provides credible information and in-depth reference material that includes the topic of assisted living residence features. This article includes such items as what to look for in assisted living, when assisted living might be called for, and what most residences offer.
- National Council for Aging Care - Aging.com was established to assist seniors in this new stage of life. This specific article gives information about choosing the level of care necessary in a clear and in-depth fashion, as well as other features to emphasize such as safety and cost.
- AARP - The American Association of Retired Persons works to help the elderly in almost every facet of life. The AARP regularly provides information about resources designed to make the lives of their members better. This article talks about assisted living and the various options therein.