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What You Need to Know About Assisted Living

(continued)

What Should I Look For in an Assisted Living Community? continued...

 Facility Design

  • Do you like the appearance of the building and its surroundings?
  • Is the decor attractive and home-like?
  • Is the floor plan easy to follow?
  • Do doorways, hallways, and rooms accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Are elevators available?
  • Are handrails available to aid in walking?
  • Are cupboards and shelves easy to reach?
  • Are carpets secured and floors made of a non-skid material?
  • Is there good natural and artificial lighting?
  • Is the residence clean, odor free, and appropriately heated/cooled?

Medication and Health care

  • What is the residence policy regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, and medication record keeping?
  • Is self-administration of medication allowed?
  • Who coordinates visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or other specialist, if needed?
  • Does a physician or nurse visit the resident regularly to provide medical checkups?
  • Do they use a certain pharmacy? Can medications be delivered?

Services

  • Are staff members available to provide 24-hour assistance with activities of daily living, if needed? Daily activities include:
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Getting around
  • Hygiene and grooming
  • Bathing, toileting, and incontinence
  • Using the telephone
  • Shopping
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping in unit
  • Transportation to doctor, hairdresser, or other activities
  • Pharmacy medication delivery

Features of Individual Units

  • Are different sizes and types of units available?
  • Are units for single and double occupancy available?
  • Do residents have their own lockable doors?
  • Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the unit?
  • Are bathrooms private? Do they accommodate wheelchairs and walkers?
  • Can residents bring their own furnishings? What may they bring?
  • Do all units have a telephone and cable television? How is billing handled for these services?
  • Is a kitchen area/unit provided with a refrigerator, sink, and cooking element?
  • May residents keep food in their units?
  • May residents smoke in their units? May they smoke in public areas?

Social and Recreational Activities

  • Is there an activities program?
  • Do residents participate in the neighboring community's activities?
  • Do volunteers, including family members, come into the residence to conduct or help with programs?
  • Does the facility require residents to undertake any chores or perform specific activities that benefit all residents?
  • Are residents' pets allowed in the unit? Who is responsible for pet care?
  • Does the residence have its own pets?

Food Service

  • Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week?
  • Are snacks available?
  • May a resident request special foods or diets?
  • Are common dining areas available?
  • May residents eat meals in their units?
  • May meals be provided at times the resident prefers or are there set meal times?
  • Will they accommodate physician nutrition orders?

Other

  • Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
  • What is the procedure for assessing a potential resident's need for service? Are those needs reassessed periodically?
  • Can a resident be discharged for refusing to comply with a care plan?
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on July 11, 2012
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