How to Choose the Right Assisted Living Community for Your Parent

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Residential Assisted Living in Metairie

When the time comes to select an assisted living community in Metairie for your parent or senior loved one, the process can seem daunting. If you haven’t searched for senior care before, this may be even more true. With most assisted living communities throwing out bold claims about their excellent care and unique approaches, it might be difficult to separate out the communities that genuinely live up to their marketing campaigns. This article will provide insight into the key areas you should assess to decide whether an assisted living community is the real deal, and whether they are the best fit for your relative. Because while a community may be performing impressively with state-of-the-art amenities, this does not necessarily mean they will be the right choice.

Staff to Resident Ratios
When researching and visiting assisted living communities and residential care homes, one of the most important things to ask about is their staff to resident ratio. This refers to the number of residents per staff member and can give you an idea of the one-to-one care and attention the community is able to give to each resident. The best residential care homes typically have high staff to resident ratios; this means that for every resident, there are more staff members to care for them. Ultimately, a high staff to resident ratio means that your loved one should be better able to access the correct level of support as and when they need. A higher staff to resident ratio may also indicate that caregivers will be less busy and stressed. This directly impacts residents, as professional caregivers who have adequate time and energy are better equipped to provide the compassionate care aging seniors truly deserve.

Questions to ask about staff to resident ratios:

    • “Are secretarial or administrative staff included in your staff to resident ratio?” While administrative staff play a vital role in assisted living facilities and residential care homes, they are not typically involved in patient care. Despite this, some facilities include these staff members within their ratios, which can be misleading.
    • “How does your staff to resident ratio differ during the night?” It’s common for assisted living communities to have fewer caregivers on shift at night. This is not necessarily a problem – most seniors simply need less care while they’re asleep. However, if staff to resident ratio is drastically lower at night, this may raise some safety concerns – for example, what would happen if there was a fire or emergency? Similarly, if your loved one requires frequent care around the clock, a facility with more nighttime staff may be more suitable.

Care Quality and Personalized Care

Figuring out the quality of care provided can be tricky as a prospective resident or family caregiver, but there are a few key indicators you can use. Firstly, most assisted living facilities will have received a CMS quality rating. This rating is a standardized measure assessing care quality, which considers staffing and health inspection data alongside 15 other quality measures.

But CMS ratings are just one of a whole host of things to take into consideration when selecting an assisted living community. Does your loved one have any specialist care needs – perhaps they need a community experienced in providing memory care, for example? Be sure to ask about staff members’ training and experience in providing personalized care for seniors just like your parent or loved one.

Alongside specialist medical or memory care, think about the activities of daily living your relative needs most assistance with, and check whether these services are provided within the standard fees or at an extra cost (or not at all). For example, if your loved one struggles to do their laundry or carry out personal care tasks like bathing and using the bathroom, consider whether these services are offered. If personal care is a priority, ask about staff training to ensure this care is provided in a way that is dignified, compassionate and patient.

Reading online reviews of a community is a great place to start. After all, who knows more about an assisted living community’s care quality than those who have experienced it first hand? Consider not only how good these reviews are, but also how the provider responds. Do they reply to each review with a thoughtful response – even those that aren’t so good? This can be a great way to gauge a community’s genuine interest in what their customers think.

Services and Amenities

If your loved one still enjoys hobbies and social activities, the amenities offered by an assisted living facility could be enough to sway your decision. While care quality, staff to resident ratios and specialist care skills are undoubtedly the most important factors, the lifestyle an assisted living community can facilitate is also important.

Many assisted living communities offer classes, groups or amenities on-site, and matching these to your loved one’s hobbies and interests can be a great indicator of how well they will settle in. After all, assisted living shouldn’t feel like a jail sentence – it should be an exciting and positive new chapter in a senior’s retirement.

In Summary

As an assisted living and memory care community in Metairie, we regularly speak to families seeking care for a loved one, and we know how overwhelming the process can be. You can use the checklist below to gather the key details you need to make an informed decision. You may also wish to add your own points to this list, based on any specific needs or preferences your loved one has.

Things to check when choosing an assisted living facility

    • Staff to resident ratio
    • CMS quality rating
    • Online reviews
    • Specialist care provisions
    • Included and additional services
    • Staff training
    • Amenities and lifestyle

If you are a family caregiver of a senior in need of assistance with daily living or memory care support, Audubon Care Homes is here to help. Contact us today to discover how we provide the quality care and support residents, and family caregivers need.