When the time comes to consider a care home facility, it's imperative to choose one that properly meets your needs, providing the level and quality of care and support you require. Sounds simple enough, but with so many options available, the decision can be rather overwhelming. Here are some key considerations to explore when shopping around for the perfect care home for you.
Identifying Your Needs
The first step in choosing a care home is to accurately assess your needs, and to do that, you may need to get a little uncomfortably honest and vulnerable. Do you need help with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, or eating? Do you require any specialized medical care, such as for dementia, Parkinson's disease, or a chronic illness? Identifying your specific needs will help to narrow down your search, and lead you to a home that can provide you with optimal care.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
The location of a care home is also a crucial factor to consider. Is it important to remain close to family and friends, or would you prefer a more secluded location? Consider your transportation needs as well; if you don't drive, you'll want to ensure that the care home is located near public transportation.
Safe and Sound
Care home security is of utmost importance when it comes to ensuring the safety of residents, staff, and visitors. Effective security measures can help prevent all manner of unwanted activity, such as theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access to the premises.
Care homes can utilize a range of security measures, including security cameras, alarms, and cloud-based access control systems, integrative with smart locks, surveillance systems, and more. One of the newer security solutions gaining popularity are thermal imaging surveillance cameras, which use heat signatures to detect movement and provide real-time footage; they can detect intruders even in low-light or complete darkness conditions, making them a valuable tool for night-time security.
Make a List (and Check it Twice)
Making a personalized checklist of what you're looking for in a care home can really help to narrow down your options and make a more informed decision - and, let’s face it, it’s a big one, so it deserves this level of diligence. Consider the size of the homes you view, the type of room you might prefer, and how important a garden or outdoor space would be for your daily health and wellbeing. You may also want to look for a care home with a particular cultural or religious affiliation - find your tribe!
Go Detective: The Clue is in the Review
Reading reviews and ratings from other residents and their families can be an infinitely valuable source of information when making your decision, so it’s well worth donning your detective hat, diving in and seeing what comes up. You can often find reviews on the care home's website (although these will naturally be biased) or on sites such as Yelp or Google Reviews. It's important not to rely solely on ratings, though; read through the comments thoroughly to get a sense of what people like and don't like about the care home in question, and keep an eye out for any patterns of concern.
Social Butterfly? Care Homes that Foster Connection
Another important consideration is the level of social interaction and engagement provided by the care home. Whether you’re a social butterfly, an introverted recluse, or somewhere in between, socialization is essential for overall health and wellbeing. Many care homes recognize this and offer a range of activities and programs to keep residents feeling engaged and connected.
Beyond the Brochure: Visit, and Visit Again
Once you've narrowed down your options, take the time to visit the care homes in person (and preferably twice). This will give you a chance to meet the staff, check out the facilities as they currently are, and get a real sense of the overall atmosphere you’d be moving into. Also, take note of the cleanliness and organization of the home, as well as the attitudes and general demeanor of the staff; you deserve to feel comfortable and safe in the care home you choose.
During your visit to the care home, ask questions (and then ask some more); there’s lots you need to know! Ask about the staff-to-resident ratio, the types of activities and programs offered, and the policies regarding visitors and outside care providers. Then ask yourself, is this somewhere I would feel happy, safe, comfortable and cared for?
Priceless Care: Consider the Costs
Cost is typically an unavoidable barrier to choosing the ultimate care home; still, it’s vital to crunch the numbers and carefully add up all the pros and cons when figuring out what your budget is. Make sure you understand all of the costs involved, including any additional fees for things like medication management or specialized care, and ask about financial assistance options, such as Medicaid or Veterans benefits.
Trust Your Instincts
Ultimately, choosing the right care home is a big decision and a very personal one, and it's important to trust your instincts. If something just doesn't feel right, don’t ignore it - this will be your home! You deserve to live in a care home that feels comfortable, safe and supportive. Take your time, and follow both your heart and mind.