When shopping for the best Assisted Living or Memory Care in the Kansas City area it is important to watch for red flags or areas of concern.
With appropriate questions and inquiry, the issues of concern may be resolved or could be a negative indicator. The following areas need a close look:
The physical structure of the Assisted Living facility needs to be considered carefully.
It is essential that when a move is made into a community that it is a good fit for the individual. Oftentimes these facilities are built for maximum occupancy with less focus on the needs of the residents. At the time of life when an elder needs care, it can be overwhelming to move into a building that looks like a big hotel or a resort. As you observe the physical plant itself you will want to consider these deeper questions.
- Will your loved one be able to negotiate the distances between their private apartment space and the common spaces such as dining and activities?
- Are the hallways long and do they look overwhelming?
- Will your loved one be able to walk the distance or will they need wheelchair assistance?
- Is it necessary to get on an elevator to go to a dining room?
- Is the dining area loud and difficult for those with hearing loss?
- Is the dining room so large that it is hard to make an easy path with a walker or mobility device?
- What are the provisions in case of fire or a weather event?
Where is personal care provided?
The issue of personal privacy is very important. Facilities need to be designed so residents have space for their own personal items and space for visitation of family and friends. It is especially important that all medical care is done in private. The following questions help you discover any red flags:
- Do the residents have to trek to a separate room or office for medications, bathing, and health checks?
- Is privacy provided for personal care?
- Where are individual resident’s medications stored and how and where are they administered?
- Is the private apartment big enough for company to come?
Who provides the daily care?
It seems obvious that most people that are receiving personal care in an Assisted Living or Memory Care community would prefer to interact with the same caregivers on a daily basis.
Familiarity with staff improves comfort and security. When staff changes daily or multiple times a day there may be a breakdown of confidence.
There may be occasions when a new caregiver creates a sense of embarrassment or awkwardness. Questions to ask to dig deeper:
- How many staff member will be caring for my loved one?
- Does staff work for an entire building, a floor or a specific group of residents?
- Will my loved one see the same caregivers every day?
- Will they call my mother by her name and know her personally?
- Are there universal workers or do employees only do specific jobs, such a dietary staff, bathing staff, housekeeping staff?
- Is there 24-hour staffing and what are the night staff responsibilities?
- What is the staff to resident ratio and will it change if my loved one needs more help?
What is the dining experience on a daily basis?
Most would agree that food is very important for all of us especially as you grow older.
There is a great deal of pleasure in not only eating a meal but sharing it with others in a communal space. Mealtimes are favorites.
Facilities have different approaches to food preparation. It is essential for those shopping for Assisted Living understand the dietary philosophy of the community.
Two basic approaches are typical.
The first is the Chef or dietary approach which is best described as a top to bottom plan. The Chef plans the meals and prepares food and offers some choices to the residents but mainly focuses on the facility meal plan, costs and efficiency.
The second is what you might call a resident-focused approach or a bottom to top plan. In this model, the resident gets to choose what to eat and it is prepared for them individually. Here are some questions to ask to look for the red flags
- Will my mom get to eat her favorite foods?
- My dad loves ice cream before he goes to bed, is that possible?
- Are there personal choice snacks available during the day?
- Can my loved one ask for a special meal?
- How many choices are available every day?
- What are the meal times and can you eat when you want?
- My mom sleeps late so can she have breakfast at 11:00 in the morning?
- Does the Chef actually talk to the residents or get feedback on meals?
Clear financing is critical.
A very important area to research carefully and watch for red flags in Assisted Living in the Kansas City community is the issue of finances.
Since different communities compute their charges differently, it is important to know if you are comparing apples to apples.
This can raise many red flags. Hidden charges must be clarified so that you know the exact amount that will be paid monthly. Asking the following question will dip deeper.
- What is the base rate for room and board?
- Does the base rate cover all meals and snacks?
- Does the base rate cover personal hygiene products like toilet paper, tissues, shampoo, and hand soap?
- Is housekeeping included?
- Is transportation to appointments included?
- What is the additional charge for healthcare services?
- Are there levels of care?
- Does the resident and family have input for the level of care?
- When would the level of care be increased?
- Is it possible for the level of care to go down?
- How long is the lease?
- How is the lease terminated?
- What happens if my loved one runs out of money?
- Can payments be automated through the bank?
- What unexpected charges might arise?
Red flags in Assisted Living and Memory Care are points of clarification, they do not mean a community is not a good fit.
It is best to understand all these issues before making a decision.
Careful planning and in-depth question can smooth the path for a good adjustment into a community and it is well worth the time to dig deeper.
Looking for help with Assisted Living and Memory Care decisions? Contact The Piper today!