Across the US, there are around 1.4 million people in care homes, and some of us dread the time that comes for when one of our loved ones will become one of those statistics. We have all heard the horror stories, and horror stories are never difficult to find, but there are also plenty of wonderful stories and reasons that your loved one can have a wonderful retirement in a care home. We know you want to make the best choice for them, and these decisions are not taken lightly. So, to help you find the best place for you and your loved one here is a simple guide we have put together.
What Are Your Needs and Wants from a Care Home?
When looking at potential care homes, the first important step is understanding your needs and wants from a care home. Your needs are the absolute non-negotiable factors, which will make or break a home being a running contender. Your wants are factors or options that you would prefer to have from a care home but are not a deal-breaker when it comes to choosing one.
Your needs and wants will vary considerably to everyone else’s, as it is not only extremely personal to anyone’s given situation, but some will be more able than others, and some will have a need for much higher support – Because of this, let’s take a look at what you might need to consider:
- Will the resident be able to do personal maintenance by themselves?
- Do they have medication needs that require a professional’s help?
- Are they physically able?
- Do they have any aging brain-related diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s?
All of these questions need to be answered to determine the appropriate care for the resident and to also ensure that they will be safe and healthy.
Reviews and Word of Mouth
Many of us are aware of the value of researching and checking reviews for anything when it comes to making an informed decision, and will often meticulously check every good and bad review to make a logically weighted decision. However, those who are well acquainted with the internet will also know that bias and inauthentic reviews are ten a penny, so the next important step is to corroborate reviews with real-life tenants and families who do not stand to gain from your decision.
Most care homes will have community boards, Facebook groups, and online support systems in place where they let family members and others know what the residents are up to and any updates that should be known. This is also a good place where other family members can chat to each other and make connections and can help those who are deciding on choosing a care home. You can gather a lot of valuable information online, either directly or indirectly, so be sure to use these resources when doing your research. One really important piece of information you will be able to find online are the most recent inspection reports, and if you cannot find it, be sure to ask. That being said, it is likely that quality care homes will shout about their awards, achievements, and credentials, so they shouldn’t be hard to find. Don’t forget to look at their website either!
Care homes such as Brandywine Living will give a well-rounded picture of what the home is like and its ethos. Be sure to take in all of these factors to make an informed decision with everything considered.
Visit Your Care Home Choices
This might go without saying, but if you can, be sure to visit every care home you are interested in because it is the best way for you to get a feel for what the company and the home are like. You will be able to get a general vibe of the place, talk to the staff, and see what a ‘day in the life of a resident’ looks like. If you are able to, talk to some of the residents or families there and take the person who will become a resident in the home so they too can get a feel for the place and see if it is right for them. Some care or residential homes should be able to arrange a kind of taster day, and all of them should be able to offer a proper tour and answer any questions you may have. Be wary if they don’t!
What Kinds of Questions Should You Ask?
While you can ask any question you think will help allow you to make the best decision, sometimes it can be helpful to write a list down so you do not forget anything you need to know while taking everything in. Separate your questions into categories if you find it easier, as you will want to find out information for both you and the potential resident too. Some of these questions can include (but are not limited to):
- Are the buildings and surrounding areas well maintained?
- Are there gardens and communal areas, and are they regularly maintained?
- What are the temperatures of the buildings and rooms? Are they comfortable?
- Are the staff friendly?
- Are they trained or have any qualifications?
- Is there a high turnover?
- Are there people who specialize in age-related diseases?
For Your Loved Ones
- What is the accessibility like?
- Do residents have their own bathroom?
- Are there staff to help with more personal needs?
- What activities are there? And what is the food like?
For You, Friends, and Family
- Is there adequate parking for visitors?
- Is there a 24/7 visitor policy – if not, are there adequate visiting hours?
- Is it within a comfortable distance for you to reach?
- What restrictions are there that you should know about?
There will surely be many more questions than these, but these are just some to get you started. Remember to go with your gut and make sure the resident is happy with the choice too, as they will be the ones living there!