When you're independently going through the process of finding a senior living community, it can be difficult to identify the best community for you or a loved one. This process can be so overwhelming because there are many factors to consider when searching for senior housing, whether you're looking for assisted living, memory care, or independent living.
Certain aspects of the community immediately come to mind, such as the way in which the living areas for the residents are laid out; the types of indoor and outdoor activities that are offered; the cuisine that is served in the community dining hall; the overall cost of living in the neighborhood; and so on.
However, while searching for the ideal community for seniors to live in, there are a few questions that many families might not think to ask, despite the fact that these questions are really crucial. These considerations can help you see the underlying differences in how each community works, which will help you make the best-informed decision you can.
When families look for a community for seniors on their own, there are five areas they often forget to take into account.
1. Meal Flexibility
We anticipate that each day, we will be given three different meals. To what extent, on the other hand, is the kitchen willing to be flexible in the event that your elderly loved one has certain dietary requirements or preferences? As a result, elderly people prefer the freedom to choose what they eat, so there must be a diverse range of alternative food options available at each meal to meet everyone's needs. Check out some of the meals that are served in the community, or even better, join some of the other residents for a meal in the dining hall to get a more real, first-hand look.
When you initially tour the community and make your introductions with the senior living staff, that is the perfect opportunity to address these and other topics with the members of the staff. You have the ability to determine, based on their responses, whether you want to shortlist the community or eliminate it entirely. Because an educated decision is the best option, you should make it a priority to gather as much information as you can until you are happy that the community staff person has provided you with all of the relevant details.
2. Recognition of Spiritual and Religious Needs
Your elderly family member or friend may place a high value on being part of a community that can cater to their spiritual requirements. Be sure to ask if the community provides spiritual guidance from an established religious leader, regular religious services, access to religious books, a venue for sharing religious practices with others, final rites, and meals that fit religious requirements.
3. Contractually Mandatory Arbitration Clauses
The use of required arbitration clauses, which are often referred to as "forced arbitration," is common in senior housing contracts. According to this clause, any issues are to be handled by a neutral third-party arbitrator and not in a court or in a public setting. It also strips you of the right to initiate a lawsuit in the event that charges of abuse or neglect are made against you. Before you sign the contract, you should have it reviewed by an attorney, and if the attorney discovers any forced arbitration sections, you should consider eliminating them. You can choose whether or not to take on the risk, even if the senior living community says that arbitration is mandatory.
4. Abuse Prevention Strategies
This could be a challenging subject for some people because no one likes to entertain the idea that a loved one might be mistreated in any manner. In many senior living communities, good methods have been established to avoid abuse. Thus, it is important to learn about the activities that staff members may and cannot do inside the community. These regulations define the boundaries between the staff and the residents, spell out the penalties that will be imposed on anybody who defies the rules, and contribute to the prevention of abuse and neglect. Be certain that you have a complete understanding of the specific criteria for the prevention of abuse in any community that you are thinking about joining.
5. Resident Council Assemblies
A great number of senior living communities have resident groups that get together on a regular basis in a discreet location to talk about matters that are significant to their overall quality of life. They often consist of written requests for management to consider, in addition to actions of responsibility in the event that the requests are handled. In order to participate, members of the staff, guests, and resident families must first receive an invitation from the organization. Inquire about attending a council meeting in order to get a sense of how the locals feel about their community, the kinds of problems that are brought up at the meetings, and the ways in which these problems are handled. Residents have the legal right to organize themselves into councils; thus, if the senior community you're thinking about moving to doesn't already have one, you might want to consider moving it further down your list.
Assistance with Locating Suitable Senior Living Communities in Northern Virginia
It is critical for families to locate the proper senior living community for an aging loved one. To arrive at a decision that is in everyone's best interest, it is necessary to go through a number of stages, such as investigating various communities, talking to communities through interviews and tours, and sifting through all the data you have gathered. It is a challenging endeavor for individual families to take on by themselves.
Because of this, you can rely on Assisted Living Locators of Northern Virginia for assistance in placing your loved one in the assisted living community, memory care facility, independent living community, or other senior living choices that are the best match for them. Our team will take the time to get to know all about the requirements that your loved one has, answer all of your questions, and present a list of the senior living communities in your area that are the best fit for your loved one based on their particular medical requirements, personal preferences, and financial constraints.
For more information or no-cost assistance with independent living, assisted living, memory care, in-home care, or other senior living options in Northern Virginia’s Prince William County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, or Alexandria, please call our local elder care experts today at (703) 878-7870 or contact us via e-mail.