Finding the Right Fit
For most of us, comparing options, asking questions, and making choices comes naturally when we’re “shopping around.” But selecting an Assisted Living facility can be far from easy. After all, if you haven’t done it before, where do you start? First of all, what is it? Assisted Living Facilities combine housing, supportive personal care, and healthcare for people who need assistance with some aspects of daily living, but don’t need the skilled medical care of a nursing home. It’s usually appropriate for those who needed help with three or fewer activities of daily living each day. Assisted Living also empowers older people to live independently for as long as possible. And that, studies show, matters more than almost anything else to many aging Americans.
LOOK AROUND, ASK QUESTIONS, TAKE NOTES
Compare as many facilities as you can. Make a list of questions, keep notes, and after narrowing down to the three top choices, return for a closer look. Talk with the residents about how they like living there. Talk with the staff and judge about how friendly they are. Have a meal and see how you like it. Soak up the atmosphere. Take home a copy of the family council minutes contract and ask to read the licensing inspection report.
Think about what matters most to you. Do you want to stay close to where you’ve been living? Or is it more important to be near family members who can visit you? And how convenient are shops, banks, doctors, bus lines, etc? COST. Ask for details about what the base fee covers, and what services come at additional ”hidden” costs. How often can fees be changed? And if you’re absent for an extended time, what fees apply?
Find out how your specific needs will be met. If those needs change, can you move to a different level of care? Who determines if you need to make a change? And if you need care they don’t provide, will arrangements be made for it? Who dispenses medication, what safeguards are in place, and must you use the facility pharmacy?
In the best circumstances, a caring staff becomes extremely familiar with each resident’s likes and dislikes, noticing even the slightest physical or mental changes immediately. So ask how long employees have been with the facility. Check how many residents are assigned to each staff person and what other duties they have. This can have a huge impact on the time and attention that’s received. And finally, trusting your instincts, do they seem to be caring and concerned?
MEALS AND HOUSEKEEPING
If you have special dietary needs, how will they be met? What time are meals served? Can they be delivered to your room? Are snacks available? And how often are linens laundered and rooms cleaned?
ACTIVITIES AND TRANSPORTATION
Look at activities with an eye to your own preference. Do you like activities that are scheduled? Would you prefer something less structured like taking a walk or tending a garden? Or do you prefer trips to cultural events? If so, is transportation provided and how often are events scheduled? Bring home and compare activity schedules from each facility you consider. Find out about transportation to health appointments, and any limitations that apply. And what if you want to attend an event by yourself or with a friend? How much? How often? Is transportation wheelchair accessible?
SAFETY AND COMFORT
Notice how well the living space accommodates different needs. Is it easy to use canes, walkers, and wheelchairs? Even if you don’t have these needs today, planning ahead can’t hurt. Are call lights or buttons in place in case of emergencies, even in bathrooms? What about handrails? Are bathrooms easy to move around in? And is overall building security good?
At College Manor, we encourage this kind of “shopping around.” After all, with 50 years of experience, we know how important it is to find the right fit. Located on 11 scenic acres in historic Lutherville, Maryland, we were once the home of the Maryland College for Women. Founded in 1952 by Dr. William Moore, College Manor has been operated by three generations of the Moore family. From spacious private rooms to caring professionals…from a marble staircase to a crystal chandelier…from a selective menu to flower and vegetable garden space for residents who love gardening…College Manor’s homelike atmosphere encourages residents to be as independent as they are able. Our typical employee has been here more than ten years, ensuring the continuity of care that’s so invaluable. In fact, residents tell us that College Manor feels just like an extended family.