10 Tips for Touring Assisted Living Facilities

Back-Patio-View-6-2012Finding an assisted living facility that’s just the right fit for you or a loved one can be a tricky business. Dirigo Pines currently has limited openings in our Assisted Living apartments. Before you begin your search, know what to look for and what questions to ask. Some communities only offer independent living while others offer a continuum of care to meet the changing healthcare needs of the individual. Here are a few questions and insight to get you started in your search…

1. What is the staff to resident ratio? This will tell you how much time and attention they can provide.

2. Do you have a physician serving as a medical director? How often is that person on site?  What hours are other licensed staff on site? Timely healthcare is essential. If a physician is not on site regularly, then residents must be transferred off site for healthcare services. Dirigo residents have the comfort of knowing nursing staff is available on call or on site 24-7 with Medical Director oversight should a problem arise.

3. What additional services are available? Dirigo assisted living residents can receive help with laundry, housekeeping, medications and personal care, while maintaining their independence.

4. Is transportation available to doctor and dental appointments? If not, you may be providing this or paying someone else to take you or your loved one. Dirigo Pines provides transportation to appointments.

5. Describe your activity staff and schedule. Socialization and physical activity are proven to contribute to overall health. Take a look at the community calendar of events. Do they match your or your loved one’s interests? Do the events and activities vary in size and type? Do they include trips and outings away from the community? If it is important to you and your family, don’t forget to inquire about religious services.

6. Ask about meal plans. Can they accommodate special diets? Well balanced meals that are tasty and have eye appeal are important, as well as being able to accommodate for special diets including gluten-free and low sodium. When visiting communities it is important to discuss entree choices and learn about dining hours, options and procedures. Make sure you and your loved one enjoy a meal at the property.

7. Describe the communications between staff, residents and family members. Obviously you want a clear line of communication between the caregiver and the family. Observe staff members interacting with current residents. Do they listen and make eye contact?

8. Describe how the care plan is developed. The proper way to develop a care plan is with an interdisciplinary team to include the physician, nursing, activities, dietary staff, outside agencies for additional support, such as physical therapy, and the resident and family members. They should be looking at you or your family member as an individual; looking at your history and what environment would make you most comfortable. The care plan should be fashioned for the needs of the resident, not the needs of the facility. 

9. Observe the design of the assisted living apartment. Dirigo’s assisted living apartments are specially designed, and come in a variety of options, and all include a kitchen area, living room, separate bedroom and individual bathroom. Click here to see the options available. When you visit a facility, be sure to also investigate the outdoor areas available to residents. Does the area feel safe and secure?

10. Crunch the numbers. Be sure to consider all the small things that can really add up.  When you start crunching the numbers, assisted living can be a more cost-effective option than trying to obtain services like nursing care, meals, housekeeping and yard maintenance at home. Click here to check out our post on comparing costs, which includes a worksheet to help you figure out the real cost of all those services. Dirigo Pines prices are all inclusive with no hidden surprises.

Trust your instincts when you visit a facility. You will know when you find the right fit. Contact Ann or Susan for a tour of Dirigo Pines by calling 866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.

For even more questions to ask and tips, click here.

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