How to Compare Nursing Homes

Deciding the right place can be a tedious process that requires a great deal of research and awareness and choosing the right nursing home is no different.  In reality, choosing a nursing home may be more complex because, in addition to common amenities, potential residents also have to consider the researching the staff, programs, and services, medical or otherwise.  Although this site offers a number of articles to help, such as “Nursing Home FAQs”, it is a good idea to bring a checklist that makes sure you don’t miss anything as you compare facilities.

Each list should have its own page with the name and the date of your visit listed at the top; it can also be helpful to make notes next to each point as well.  You can also make sections for each concern to match the flow of the interview and tour from the outside to the inside.  Touring during a time when activities, such as lunch, or a community event, are recommended to get a good idea of staff interaction and overall happiness of the residents.  During your tour of the facility pay attention to the overall cleanliness of the facility; look for dirty floors or walls, listen to the noise level of the rooms, get a sense of smell for each area, and ask a lot about maintenance and housekeeping.  Below

 

Date of Visit: ______________

Name of Facility: _____________________________________

Address/Location: ____________________________________

Contact Info: ________________________________________

 

  1. Outside the facility

___ Location: traffic, location to family, etc.

Notes:

___ Appearance: well maintained (paint, landscaping, sidewalks), mobility friendly (ramps, sidewalk flaws, railing, stairs, etc.).

Notes:

___ Outside Security: doors easy to open but secure, surveillance, etc.

Notes:

 

  1. Lobby

___ Appearance: welcoming décor and friendly staff, smell, sign-in or check I process.

Notes:

___ Visiting Process: specific visiting hours, waiting area, drinks for guests, etc.

Notes:

___ Lobby staff: friendly, polite greeting, attentive, knowledgeable/helpful, etc.

Notes:

 

  1. Common Areas

___ Hallways: length, railing, ramps, stairs, location of important rooms, elevators, benches, etc.

Notes:

___ Furniture: comfortable, clean, up-to-date, lots of residents present, etc.

Notes:

___ Floors: clean, even, fall prevention measures, short distances between areas, etc.

Notes:

___ Additional rooms: television room, library, gym, pool, computer room, etc.

Notes:

 

  1. Rooms/ Apartments

___ Emergency measures: bedroom/bathroom emergency alerts, average response times,

Notes:

___ Room Floorplan: closet space, in-room furniture, storage options

Notes:

___ Bathroom: tub/shower, handrails, etc.

Notes:

___ Different room sizes: floor plan cost comparison,

Notes:

___ Personal Items: list of items that are allowed and prohibited

Notes:

 

  1. Activities, Services, and Programs

___ Meal options: healthy choices, choices for medical conditions, flexible eating schedule, visitor meals, seating plans, kitchenettes available, etc.

Notes:

___ Medication management: frequency, cost, storage,

Notes:

___Observe an activity or ask for a community event schedule: bingo nights, movies nights, cookouts, birthday parties, etc.

Notes:

___Options for outside entertainment: transportation to movies, dinner, shopping, etc.

Notes:

___ Options for hobbies: library, movie libraries, book clubs, knitting circles, yoga, etc.

Notes:

___ Personal care services: beauty/barber services, laundry, bedding, spa, etc.

Notes:

___ Services at additional cost

Notes:

 

  1. Other

___ Pet-friendly: allows personal pets, animal-assisted therapy, community pet, pet care services, fenced outside area, etc.

Notes:

___ Residents: age, happiness, medical accommodations, welcome person, etc.

Notes:

___ Licenses and regulations: licenses posted, inspections reports, complaint reports, complaint process, evacuation procedures/routes, fire drills, etc.

Notes:

___ Transportation services: recreational transportation, transportation to medical services, errands, etc.

Notes:

___Needed additional services: memory care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, etc.

Notes:

 

Staff interaction, dining experience, general aesthetics, and room comfort are some of the most important factors for seniors.  Knowing they have a found a place that is safe and complimentary might even influence their longevity and overall quality of life.  Finally, as you check off your criteria and ask all of the necessary questions, imagine yourself actually living there.  Imagine trying to relax or make friends, image interacting with the staff or solving a personal care problem.  As you imagine day-to-day life, imagine waking up and going to bed. Simply, make sure to choose the place that feels just right!

To begin the search for nursing homes in your area, start here. Or you can call (877) 345 – 1706 to speak with a local senior living advisor for free who can help you on your search.

 

Signs That a Family Member Needs Memory Care

Although memory loss is a common part of aging, the loss of memory can be problem that affects all parts of our lives.  Seniors are at an especially high risk when they cannot remember when they took their medication or where they are going when they travel.  It can be difficult to distinguish between regular memory loss and a more serious problem however there are a few common signs that you can look out for to know if your loved one is really struggling.

  1. Conversations and Speech

How is the quality of the conversations that you have with your loved one?  General forgetfulness is common however the inability to recall important names and dates could be a sign of a bigger problem.  It can also be helpful to watch for changes in speech, such as tone or speed, as slurring can be indication of medical concerns and agitation could point to Alzheimer’s or dementia.

  1. Physical Appearance

Basic hygiene and dressing can be difficult as the body ages.  Pay attention to their clothing and overall hygiene, how often do they change their clothes, brush their teeth, bath, etc.?  The inability to maintain proper hygiene can be a significant factor in choosing to move into a nursing home.  Make sure to pay attention to any possible weight loss and the state of their kitchen.  Messy kitchens, expired food, or limited supplies can all point to more serious concerns.  Senior healthcare programs can help provide consistent, well-rounded, nutritional, and medically approved meals

  1. Medication

Medication can be especially difficult to maintain and monitor.  There are easy risks in mixing up medications, over-medicating, or under-medicating and remembering complex medication schedules can be especially hard.  Senior care programs not only take care of all of those concerns, they also help keep a record of the medications they are taking and what doctor provided the prescription.

  1. Social Interactions

Not all seniors choose to remain active as they enter into retirement however a decline in socialability or an unwillingness to participate in events could be a sign of something more.  If they were members of a club, team, group, or other social activity, check in to see how often they attend. How often do they mention their close friends?  It can be difficult to maintain social schedules when mobility is an issue however seniors that suddenly stop or change their routine may be struggling with emotional problems, such as depression.  Many senior care facilities host ice cream socials, cookout, and other social events that can help with feelings of isolation.

  1. House

What is the state of their home?  Are there any areas that could be dangerous for falls? The overall maintenance of the house can be a huge indicator of whether a senior is struggling with independent living.  Is the kitchen or bathroom messy?  Keeping an eye on the state of the house, yard, garage, and car will help identify any gradual changes as well.  Some senior care programs can help outfit their house for any mobility problems they might have. There are also programs that can help with memory retrieval such as a memory wall that creates a timeline of important dates for seniors with mild memory loss.

 

Making the decision between assisted living, nursing homes, and in-home healthcare can be a complicated and stressful situation however each choice offers a multitude of options.  Each facility will likely offer some form of memory care however each facility will differ significantly. If you’re looking for more specialized care geared towards seniors with memory loss, start researching Alzheimer’s and memory care facilities.  Cognitive decline can be a profound and troubling concern therefore seeing a doctor is the first step in assessing any problems and finding the right help for your loved one’s needs.

 

Memory Care Options

The SeniorLiving.net blog is happy to be back in action. Get ready for lots of helpful content to guide you on your senior living search, answer some of your questions surrounding senior care, and provide you with information on senior health and wellness. Let’s kick it off with diving into memory care options.

What is memory care and what can it do for my loved one?  Although memory loss is a typical part of growing older, some seniors may experience what is known as significant “cognitive decline” which requires extra care.  Diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, are not always the culprit; however watching cognitive decline happen can be hard.  Memory care refers to a specialized care that is designed to assist with the consequences of memory loss and help remain connected with things that are important.   Memory care can take the form of in-home services or activities as well as entire facilities dedicated to memory-loss conditions therefore there are a lot of choices out there.

Memory care facilities are often communities that focus their programs and services on catering to the symptoms of memory-loss.  Seniors suffering from significant cognitive decline as particularly vulnerable to stress, confusion, anxiety, and disorientation therefore these facilities may look a little different than an assisted living or nursing home facility.  Often times these communities focus more on natural lighting, comfort amenities, reliable security, and round floorplans that allow for wandering without fear of being lost.  Moreover, the rooms are often equipped with a memory box or wall that provides a timeline of important events and people.

Although memory care facilities offer some of the same amenities and options as a nursing home or assisted living community, it is clear that these facilities offer something different.  Similarly, the rooms are typically offered either private or shared, meals are often served family-style, and public entertainment areas, such as a library or TV room, are available.  Unlike others, memory care facilities don’t offer rooms with private kitchenettes, meals are often designed to accommodate appetite issues (common with memory-loss conditions), and activities are specifically intended to help seniors reconnect and remain connected to memories, hobbies, and preferences.

When deciding what level of care is needed is it important to consider the responsibilities necessary for comfortable living: transportation, meal preparation, housekeeping, medication management, and personal hygiene.  Often times, memory care facilities are more expensive than assisted living facilities however many assisted living communities have begun to offer memory care services.  Although less intensive, these communities can assist seniors with moderate memory loss.  Those with a tendency to wander or get lost may want to consider facilities with high security and frequent safety checks.  Additionally, many facilities offer services to help transition into the community, such as preparing the room before arrival, transporting them to the facility, and helping maintain anxiety or concern about living in a new place.

Read more about Alzheimer’s and dementia on the SeniorLiving.net blog.

Seniors Turns to Tech for a Safe and Secure Solo Living

seniors embracing technology

Who said the latest technology is only for the young? More and more seniors (and their adult children) are incorporating tech gadgets and applications into their daily lives, and as a result, they are able to maintain their independent living status. From innovations that help loved ones stay connected from afar, to health care monitoring, to help with housework and safety measures, tech is changing the way seniors age in place for the better.

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Don’t Ditch Your Landline Just Yet

Don’t Ditch Your Landline Just Yet

I’m part of a rapidly shrinking group of people who still has a landline phone in my home. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which keeps track of phone usage in the U.S., cell phone usage had increased by 35 percent in 2012 from 2008. I’ve even had friends jokingly harass me and ask why I don’t just rely on my mobile phone. My rationale is I live in a rural area that often has bad electrical storms and although my cell phone coverage is usually fine, there have been times it has been less than ideal.

There really are a number of very valid reasons to keep your landline and most seniors will tell you their first concern is for safety and security. So if you’re considering ditching your landline, you may not want to do it just yet.

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