Think back to the last time you searched for a new house. You likely had a lot of things on your list of wants and needs. You were looking for someplace comfortable, well-kept, and pleasant. Then there was the community around the house. Did you like the neighborhood? The people who lived there? Were the activities you enjoy close at hand? All of those elements were essential in order for that house to feel like home, and it was likely daunting to balance all of them.
As you begin your search for the right senior living community for your loved one, you’ve got the same balancing act to perform, only now the pressure is compounded by the need to ensure that your loved one will be well cared for. You’re not just searching for someplace that will feel like home for your loved one, you’re searching for someplace you can trust. But how do you go about building that sense of trust?
1. Make a Plan
Before you can place trust in a senior living community, you’ve got to gain trust in your own decision-making skills. Sifting through facilities online and visiting them in person can quickly grow overwhelming. So before you begin your search, develop a list of wants, needs, and questions to ask. These will help guide your search and allow you to collect the knowledge you’ll need to feel comfortable with the choice you make.
2. Read Online Reviews
These days, no search begins without a preliminary trip to the computer. By reading descriptions of senior living communities and the reviews that accompany them, you can begin to get a sense of each place and determine whether or not it warrants a call or visit.
3. Make Multiple Visits
Once you’ve got your initial list, it’s time to start making the rounds. As you narrow down your list, visit on different days and at different times. Step outside the “guided tours” and get a feel for what everyday life is like at the facility.
4. Ask About Consistent Assignment
Consistent assignment refers to a care plan where the staff members work with the same patients. This helps to build a rapport, and provides staff with insight into the individual cues and needs of each patient. By getting to know familiar faces, your loved one can begin to trust their caretakers.
5. Inquire About Staff Tenure
Consistent assignment is great, but it doesn’t mean much if staff is always coming and going. Not only will your loved one have trouble forging a connection, you’ll feel adrift as well. You come to rely on your loved one’s caretakers as much as they do, running questions by them and seeking their advice on how to care for and interact with your loved one. An ever-changing staff can leave you and your loved one feeling lost.
6. Seek Out the Opinions of Those You Trust
Find someone whose opinion you trust and who may have insight into senior care requirements, such as a friend with an aging loved one of their own, or your loved one’s physician. Their advice and insight can help guide your search and fortify your own beliefs about the proper senior living community.
7. Trust Your Gut
Never underestimate your own instincts. If a place checks out on paper and has great answers to all of your questions, but something doesn’t feel right, take note. While it’s true that these suspicions may mask anxiety about trusting someone else with your loved one’s care, they can also be signs that this is not the home your loved one needs. The right community should appeal to your head and your heart.
For any questions about senior living in the Chicago area, feel free to give us a call here at Lexington Square at 630.812.7241.