There are so many different options when it comes to senior housing that making a choice can be overwhelming. Some people think that their only option is a nursing facility, but there are other options as well, including assisted living facilities and residential care facilities, also known as bord and care facility for the elderly. Residential care facilities are also sometimes referred to as adult foster care homes, personal residential care homes, or adult family homes. These facilities offer similar services and care as a continuing care retirement community, except they are often smaller and house fewer residents than a retirement community. If a board and care facility for the elderly is the best option for your loved one’s needs, there are some things to keep in mind that will help you choose the ideal facility. Here are a few things to keep in mind when touring facilities and questions you’ll need to ask to help with your decision.
The appearance of Facility, Staff, and Residents
If possible, it’s important to tour more than one facility. Touring a few different places will not only give you options, but it will allow you to have a better understanding of what a good board and care facility for the elderly should look and feel like. It is essential that the potential care facility be clean and organized. Not only should the facility itself be clean, but the residents should also have a good appearance because this will give you an idea of how well the staff cares for the residents. For instance, if you tour the facility in the late afternoon and the residents are still in their nightclothes. Also, take note of how the staff interacts with the residents. For instance, is staff interacting with residents, and do they simply barge in the resident’s room without warning?
Questions to Ask
First, it’s important to not judge the exterior of the facility before touring the inside. It’s common for residential care facilities to appear “run down” or unkempt on the outside, but the inside could be a completely different story. In fact, the worse looking building may be the place that provides the most services and gives their residents the best care. Also, keep in mind that the only right answer is the one that is best suited for your elderly loved one. Some questions that you’ll want to ask include:
- How much are the monthly fees, including housing, meals, and activities? Following up with this question, you should ask about insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare and what if any are the out-of-pocket fees.
- Is transportation provided for medical appointments and outside activities?
- Are the residents responsible for medication reminders or does the staff administer all medications? Who is responsible for prescription refills?
- Does the facility offer different meal options or does everyone eat the same thing and at the same time?
- Are caregivers available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
- Is there sufficient security available for dementia? For instance, do the doors have alarms, or are their security cameras installed in populated areas.
- Are pets allowed?
- Is there an activity calendar? If so, ask to view it. Is there a variety of planned activities?
- Is assistance available for daily living care, such as toileting and showering?
- How are the health issues addressed? For instance, is there medical staff available round the clock?
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
The main thing to be aware of is how much experience the caregivers have and their backgrounds. It’s also essential that the residents appear happy and well cared for. Take note of how communication is between staff and the residents. For instance, their questions and concerns should be addressed in a timely manner and with concern from the staff.