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Looking to Place a Loved One in Care?

Be Prepared! - Tips & Questions to Ask Caregivers 
Placing your loved one with any kind of care facility is an important decision and it will benefit both you and your loved one to do the kind of homework, background checks and discovery that enable you to make an informed and comfortable choice about where your loved one will spend, what could quite possibly be, the rest of their lives.

During your phone calls you should ask as many questions as you can think of. Don’t be afraid to probe and expect answers to questions that are important to you. Make notes of the answers you receive and put a check-mark by the homes that fit your loved ones’ care needs.

Different homes are licensed for different things, depending on their owner’s facilities and capabilities, care experience, staff and whether or not the owner/manager actually lives on the premises, as is the case with Just Like Home AFC.

If you are just starting out your enquiries, it can be difficult to know where to begin so here are some of the more important questions you should be thinking of:

  1. Is the home owner operated or manager operated?
  2. Ask the costs and types of occupancy e.g private / semi-private
  3. Does the home accept Medicare clients?
  4. If your loved one has a pet ask if the pet can stay with your loved one. On the flip side if your loved one has allergies you may want to make sure the house has no pets.
  5. If your loved one is incontinent or maybe they have a tough time walking, a commode by the bedside may be needed ask if that is acceptable.
  6. Is your loved one a wanderer? If so you need to be aware of this fact and know if the house has alarms on the doors. Many larger facilities such as assisted living homes do have such alarms, whereas family care homes typically do not.
  7. If your loved one has mobility issues such as needing the use of a walker or wheelchair, ask the caregiver if their home is wheelchair accessible or not.
  8. If your loved one requires a lot of care i.e. needs above and beyond medication management explain to the owner/manager your loved one’s specific needs and whether or not they can be accommodated.

Most homes support elderly who require extra care such as assistance bathing, going to the bathroom, moderate mobility assistance (walkers/canes/[wheelchairs]) and assistance with daily activities like dressing and diet management. However, the term “a lot of care” is typically meant to mean those who need a much higher level of medical and/or nursing care e.g. tube feeding, injections, bedridden etc.

Once you feel you have done as much groundwork as you can through phone calls, online (via the web) or public records research you should then plan on visiting the homes that you have short-listed. You may choose to do this unannounced and take a look at the house, the caregiver, and the other residents. Make notes and put a star by the homes your loved one would feel at home in. Spot calls are quite normal in the care business and allow you to see the normal day-to-day running of a home.

The caregiver should always make time to see you although you should remain appreciative of the fact that at any given moment resident(s) may need assistance which in turn require the caregiver’s immediate attention. Allow the caregiver the opportunity to see to those needs. After all, you would not wish to have your own loved one’s needs put aside when visitors call unannounced. Also keep in mind that you should call during normal working hours. Typically between 9:00am and 6:00pm. Early morning and late evening are typically very busy times in a care home as these hours involve getting the residents up and fed in a morning and situated and comfortable after their evening meal in preparation for their evening routine and bedtime.

Once you have narrowed down your list, return at least one more time to your top two or three choices. Again, you can choose to schedule such visits or make them unannounced and at different times of the day. This lets you know that the caregiver is flexible and can handle an unscheduled or emergency situation.

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