As soon as you or your loved one starts thinking about assisted living care, you’ve already taken a big step. Researching and considering this transition comes with emotions, uncertainty and financial concerns. Whether for you or some you love, you want to find the best care possible. But, what is “the best care?” Answering these seven questions can help identify the type of community that will be a good option for your family.
1. How convenient is the location?
The ability to remain physically close to friends and family as well as a particular city or surroundings can be an important consideration. Proximity to familiar people and places, especially healthcare providers, churches or community groups, can help ease the transition to an assisted living community. Location is also important to family members who want to make frequent visits. A community’s address can also determine how it’s allowed to operate. Some states limit the amount of medical assistance that can be provided to residents. It’s important to ensure that your preferred community can actually provide the services and care that you or your loved one needs.
2. What services are offered?
The reasons you’re considering an assisted living community may evolve. Be realistic about your or your loved ones immediate needs and how they might change in the future. Carefully evaluate the specific tasks and care that are included as part of a community’s assisted living services. It should include things like bathing, shaving, dressing, cleaning and laundry as well as access to group and individual activities, wellness classes and all meals and snacks. But, real quality is defined by the other service offerings. For example, most communities have beauty salons. Calyx Living takes its salon menu further by offering manicures, pedicures and customized aromatherapy scent design. In addition, what happens if you or your loved one needs more care? Can you “step up” at the same community? Is memory care or Alzheimer’s care provided? Identifying potential transition points can help reduce stress and future worries.
3. What types of amenities and activities are available to me or my loved one?
New assisted living residents are often surprised by all of the things they have access to d-o. Instead of sitting at home alone without genuine, daily access to friends and family, many residents find a renewed spark and interest in activities when they move into an assisted living community. Communities that are bustling with amenities and activities cultivate interactions. At Calyx Living, our daily calendar is packed with options that encourage residents to meet new people, engage in activities and participate in programs that foster independence, personal interests and social engagement. Be it daily baking programs, harvesting our own blueberries or catching a favorite NFL game during our Sunday “tailgate” party, Calyx Living has options for everyone. This vibrancy is the very lifeblood of our community. When evaluating communities, make sure they have “extras” that your loved one will enjoy.
4. Is the staff experienced and trained?
All of the team members you see or talk with help set the tone and the expectation of care for the entire community. Compassionate, energetic and well-trained team members make all of the difference. Make sure the community you are considering actually has its own staff. Many retirement or independent living communities do not employ a round-the-clock team or staff that’s under their local direction. You and your loved one will be more comfortable when surrounded by an experienced leadership team as well as technically knowledgeable and compassionate caregivers who genuinely want to care for residents. It’s also helpful to learn about any accreditations or certifications the community may have earned. These often require specific safety, security and care levels be maintained. If addition, ask about the staff to resident ratio. Quality communities ensure that all residents are afforded personal attention.
5. Is the community clean and safe?
How things look, feel and smell are all important elements when evaluating the cleanliness and safety of an assisted living community. Grounds, gardens and outdoor spaces should be manicured and inviting. Indoor common areas, including dining rooms and open kitchens, should be clean, tidy and ready for residents and their guests. All surfaces should be free from clutter and attractive. Note any unpleasant smells as that could be a sign of a larger issue. The community should be a place that feels comfortable, updated and caring. A pristine, secure community doesn’t mean all is perfect. However, if maintaining a clean, safe community isn’t a priority that could be a red flag.
In the age of COVID, it’s also important to know a community’s vaccine policy for their staff and residents as well as all additional health protocols in place to keep residents safe. Calyx Living is proud to be 100% vaccinated – both residents and staff.
6. What is the overall culture of the assisted living community?
Assisted living communities can be full of new opportunities. It can offer a new setting that renews interests, expands activities and fosters new relationships. To get a sense of a community’s culture and vibe, ask for an extended tour, to participate in a class and enjoy a meal. Talk with residents and their family members to see what they like about the community and ask about their experiences with the staff. This will help you or your loved one get a real sense of the comradery, vibrancy and care that can be expected.
7. How much does assisted living care cost?
Costs must factor into when and which assisted living community you choose. It can be tempting to try to save money by having family members care for a loved one or to hire temporary in-home care. Staying at home as long as possible isn’t always the best option – both financially and emotionally. When determining cost, ask carefully about what’s included in your monthly fee. Is transportation to a doctor’s appointment included? What about medication management? Is the community fee all-inclusive or will you get a bill containing charges for additional care and services? Once you narrow the list by what fits in your budget, answer the other questions to select the best community for you or your loved one.
Our team at Calyx Living welcomes the chance to share our community with you and answer questions about assisted living care, amenities, activities and costs. We can help you evaluate our assisted living services against these questions and your own specific criteria. Contact us to schedule a tour today!