Put your 5 senses to use in making an eldercare facility selection. Your senses won’t steer you wrong!
It’s always a difficult time when your family decides it’s time to move your elder into an assisted living or nursing care facility. It gets even harder when you are evaluating facilities or residences and trying to match your elder with the right place.
Using your 5 senses may sound simple, but they are great tools for evaluating, eliminating and selecting residences.
Sight – Look around the facility. Are the residents happy? Do they seem busy and engaged? Is the property well maintained? Are the staff members friendly and helpful? How visible is the care staff? Visit at odd hours – early morning, late evening or weekends. Are the grounds well kept and offer visual variety (plants, trees, lawn)?
Sound – Listen for constant beeping or other obnoxious sounds from the resident alarm systems. Are residents’ rooms soundproof from neighbors (tv, radio, etc.)? What does the dining room sound like during meals? Quiet? Conversations? Laughter? Go to the area where your elder would reside, sit down and listen for a while. You’ll learn a great deal about what it will be like to live there.
Taste – Visit during mealtime and eat a meal. Is it tasty? Get a menu for the week and see what variety is offered. Try going to a meal other than lunch. Do they offer to accommodate special diets?
Smell – Does the facility smell clean? Are the rooms smoke-free? If there is a kitchenette, open the fridge and sniff. Check out the bathrooms (both in the unit where your parent would live and the public restrooms). Are the hallways either pleasant-smelling or neutral? Is there a strong smell of deodorizer that might be masking an underlying unpleasant smell?
Touch – Sit in the dining room chairs. Are they comfortable? Check out the activity rooms. Is there a workout or exercise room? Hop on the machines to see if they work. Are there places to enjoy the outdoors? Picnic tables, chaise lounges, patios – check out their comfort and maintenance.
I could go on and on. But, you get it. Use your senses. Then use your gut (or your sixth sense) to feel if your elder would be happy here, to sense if your elder could feel at home here and build a community of friends.
These are the tools you’ve been using the longest. Put them to work on this project and they’ll be just as reliable as always.
Give me some feedback about your own experience in the comments. What were you able to determine using your senses when you selected a residence for your elder?
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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.