It’s one thing to have the initial conversation with a loved one about moving to a continuing care community, but choosing the RIGHT one can be an even more daunting task. Sure, you can drive by residential care facilities, but that only gives you a glimpse of its environment. This blog is aimed to help you choose the best fit for your loved one.

Before stepping inside potential communities, think about the needs of your loved one, and prepare a list of questions and concerns. It’s vital to thoroughly research each potential residence. States with licensing regulations provide surveys on each residential community, so start by contacting your state’s department of aging for information, or ask each residential community for its survey.

The most important aspect is the caregivers experience and background, says Jerry Graham, a Senior Living Advisor for A Place for Mom. “You’re looking for care with dignity. If the caregivers are smiling and happy, the residents will be happy.” Keep the following in mind:

  • The experience of the owners and each staff member. Ask for references and check them.
  • Ease of communication: Will you be able to effectively communicate with the staff?
  • The staff-to-resident ratio.
  • Are the caregivers live-in or do they work in shifts?
  • Is there an RN on-site at all times? If not, is there an RN advisor or an RN on-site at specific times?

Of course, potential residential communities should be clean and tidy. This also translates to the appearance of its current patients. “I also speak to the other residents, take note of their appearance, and also how the staff interacts with the residents,” says Graham. It’s not a good sign if a staff member barges in on a napping resident to show off a room, or if everyone is still in their pajamas at 2 pm, he says. When touring, ask yourself, “Would my loved one fit in here?” says Charlotte Stackpole, MPA. Try to watch residents in action during an active time, and look at the home’s activity calendar.

Before choosing a residential community, make sure all of your questions are answered. “Don’t be embarrassed to ask anything. These people are now going to be your employees,” says Graham.

We hope this blog post is useful to you and your loved ones as they start a new beginning in their life. We’d also be remiss to say that Let’s Move is so fortunate to work with some of the greatest communities in the area!

If you’d like to read about one client’s experience with this transition check out this customer story.