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Choosing a senior care community

Choosing a senior care facility can be an emotional process, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Be sure to know what to look for when touring a housing community and ask important questions. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list that allows you to have comfort that you’ve made the right decision.

Focus on important factors
• Is the care community close to familiar surroundings and friends and family?
• Is specialty care available for a particular concern or diagnosis?
• Investigate the right level of service and care: are you looking for independent housing, assisted living, or skilled nursing care?
• Does the community provide engaging activities and an active social lifestyle?
• Does it offer private rooms or apartments, or shared accommodations?
• If pets are an important part of your life, does the community allow them?
• Do you seek a large setting with more neighbors, staff and amenities? Or is a smaller, cozier environment more to your liking?

How will the services be paid for and what is the cost?
• Is there a fixed cost or incremental fees?
• How is the monthly rate determined?
• Do you have the resources to pay? If personal funds will eventually be depleted are there other sources to pay for the care available?

Tour with all of your senses
• Are residents well cared for and comfortable?
• Are staff members engaged with residents? Are the interactions kind and considerate?
• Is the environment clean and inviting?
• Are meals appealing?
• Are staff members attentive to resident needs and requests?
• Are there opportunities to engage with others and social events planned, not only during the day but on weekends and evenings?

Is care personalized?
• How is care planned and communicated to all staff?
• How is the individual involved in planning care delivery? What accommodations are provided for individual preferences (bathing, rising and bedtime, meal preferences, routines and personal pursuits)?
• Who provides the care? What disciplines are involved and how is work assigned and coordinated?
• What type of training do staff members have? How long have they been with the organization?
• How is the care plan communicated, changes made and monitored?
• How can someone summon assistance and what is the anticipated response time?
• What activities are offered?
• How is spiritual care provided?

Think about your personal preferences or needs and ask how they can be accommodated.

Extent of care and contract
• Is there a limit to the care available at the location?  What are the limits and what happens if a move is needed?
• What is the duration of the rental or admission agreement?

Personal support system
• Are there services or expectations that the family must provide or be a part of?
• Is transportation available to appointments?
• Are shopping opportunities on location or trips available?
• Are concierge services available?
• Do physicians and other needed professionals visit the location or must one leave the premises to receive the service?

What is your overall feeling about your experience in engaging with the senior care community?
• Were you well attended to?
• If the person needing service visited, were they well attended and were they addressed appropriately and respectfully?
• Who is the organization providing services? What is their mission, reputation?
• Are regulatory surveys and safety features in good standing?   

Individual preferences and perceptions can vary widely, so be sure to carefully consider how a care community can best suit your loved one's needs.

To find out more about choosing a care community, or to find a Benedictine Health System community near you, call 800-833-7208 or fill out the form on this or any page.

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