Before my business got off the ground I spent a year as a caregiver to the elderly. I also had a prior background as a legal assistant to an eldercare lawyer. Consequently, I know a little about senior facilities and caring for the elderly.
Here are some tips for selecting a facility
1, Give it the sniff test. When you walk in the door and down the halls does it smell fresh? If not just leave.
2. Give it the personality test. Does the staff make eye contact and say hello? Are they friendly?
3. Are you restricted in when you can visit or where you can go? If the facility is too limiting there could be a reason.
4. Do they insist on a large amount of funds to apply? In many cases you are only required to prove 3 months of funding. But they don’t always explain this.
5. Make sure you can get out of an agreement if after a short time it is not working.
6. Ask what happens if funds run short. Some facilities will work with a resident and some will make them leave.
7. Are there all levels of care? Some facilities will not take full nursing patients so your loved one will be moved if they become ill.
8. How do they handle end of life care? Some facilities are “for-profit” and some are “non-profit”. Some of the non-profits are faith based. The type of business may affect how they support hospice care.
9. Not all hospice’s are alike, so interview them as well.
10. You are your elderly loved one’s best advocate. Visiting regularly is a good way to ensure better care. Don’t be afraid to speak up and pop in for unexpected visits at different times.
11. Sample the food. Would you eat that?
12. Do they have a regular schedule and variety of good activities? Would you want to live there?
13. Facilities may vary greatly, so visit more than one. See how differently they operate and respond to your questions.
The caregiver should come along side the person and respect their wishes.
Don’t give the caregiver too much authority. Caregivers may become like family and can be a wonderful support. But remember they are employees and should be regarded as such.
A caregiver should not handle money. If that is absolutely necessary, the caregiver should give a regular accounting of funds to the client’s representative.
In a situation where the elderly client can no longer speak for themselves, good supervision of the caregiver is a must. Is your loved one being fed and bathed regularly? Are they being moved every 2 hours, if bed ridden?
When I was young being an elder caregiver never crossed my mind. I had much to learn and sometimes I learned through unpleasant experiences. I hope this short blog can help you as you seek support.
Here are a couple of helpful links:
Government information on eldercare:
How to report elder abuse: