There are many reasons to be wary of choosing an assisted living community, either for yourself or a loved one. Since residents enter assisted living because they are either physically and or mentally weakened, they are in a vulnerable position, and it’s a sad fact that predators are always willing to take advantage. But a good assisted living community should not only assist, it should also protect your loved ones. Here’s what you need to look out for to make sure you’re loved one is in good hands:
Contact Your ALFA State Affiliate
ALFA is the National Assisted Living Federation of America and they have chapters in every state (although they only recognize one chapter per state as being their official chapter in that area). They have tons of information on assisted living communities in your area, so look them up, see what information they have available on their website, and when you’ve exhausted their site, don’t be afraid to call them up and ask questions.
Contact Your Local Regulatory Agency
Each state has its own agency that’s responsible for monitoring assisted living communities within the state and ALFA is responsible for overseeing all of these regulatory agencies, which is why it makes sense to contact ALFA first. Many of the regulatory agencies maintain databases on the assisted living communities they regulate, and they may even have a way to compare their ratings, services, locations, etc. Take a look at their website and see what they offer in the way of information and comparison tools.
Contact Your Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman
A long-term care ombudsman is someone who works as an advocate for residents of assisted living communities, nursing homes, and board and care homes. They can help you get information about how to find a facility and obtain quality care for your loved one. They are also trained to assist with complaints and resolve problems, which means they’re more likely to know which assisted living facility in your area is the cause of most of the recent complaints.
The federal Older Americans Act requires each state to maintain an Ombudsman Program to act as an advocate and address complaints.
See Which Assisted Living Communities Are JCAHO Accredited
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) provides accreditation to assisted living communities, but accreditation is not mandatory. Only the assisted living communities that volunteer to participate receive accreditation, which means an assisted living community that’s not accredited may be just as reputable as one that is. That said, JCAHO maintains an online directory that makes it easy to access their information on each of the assisted living communities they have accredited, including a detailed report of their findings and a number score that is based on a 100-point scale.
Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few good assisted living communities that meet your needs and budget, it’s time to start visiting them in person. While there are many great resources to help you gather information online, nothing beats actually walking it and seeing for yourself how the place looks and if it feels right for you and your loved one.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.