Finding care for someone you love because they are now too old to be able to look after themselves can be very tough and emotionally draining on everyone involved. Even more so if you are worried that the facility you have chosen is not going to be good enough.
When choosing a care facility, there are many things that need to be considered, however, the deciding factor should always be on the level of care that the facility can provide. For instance, there is no point making your decision not to choose a care home simply because their curtains look too old.
If the care home can provide round the clock care to your elderly relative, no matter what their medical needs are and give them the attention they need and a good life, despite their horrid curtains, then it is definitely worth checking out. To help you work out if a facility is going to provide high levels of care or not, it is worth asking the following questions:
Does the facility provide specific care for your loved one’s exact needs?
For instance, if your relative has dementia, do they have specialist dementia nurses? If they have diabetes, does the home have nurses and staff trained to deal with hypos and diabetic episodes?
It is really important that you feel comfortable leaving your loved one in the care of others, so you must make sure that staff have been fully trained and are qualified and are therefore experienced enough to deal with the special needs your loved one might have.
Make sure you know if the fees are likely to go up if your elderly relative requires increased levels of care
Unfortunately, it is more than likely the case that your loved one will need increased levels of care at some point in the future, whether this is as a result of illness or just old age. This is therefore a very important question to ask at the beginning, before you entrust your relative to the care of the home, so that you are not faced with large hikes in the cost of care further down the line. Or at least, you are aware of how the costs can vary depending on the levels of care required.
Make sure you know what their visiting hours are
Each care facility will have their own rules regarding when people can visit, however, these should not be so strict that you feel rushed, or unable to visit as much as you want to. You should be wary of places that say they won’t allow you to visit whenever you want to, although try to be reasonable, for instance if you want to visit at 2am, they are well within their rights to say no.
However, if they try to prevent you from visiting your loved one in normal daytime hours, then it should raise a warning flag. After all, their live in residents should be allowed to have people visit them no matter the time, if it is during daylight hours.
What services are included for the amount they are quoting you?
It is better to find a facility where they have trained staff to deal with certain medical conditions, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and diabetes and who can also offer quality levels of generic care for the elderly, such as bathing, feeding and transporting if required.
Some facilities will not be licensed to offer all the above levels of care and may only provide accommodation, food and general overview care. In these cases, you will be required to pay more for specialist care workers to come in and provide any additional care services.
Ask for references?
Before ever entrusting the care of someone who is unable to defend or care for his or herself properly, you have got to be 100% sure that the facility you’re handing them over to is safe and recommended.
Do not be afraid to ask for references. Any organization that has nothing to hide will be only too happy to provide you with these. You should also ask around people that you know to see if they are aware of the facility’s reputation, as well as have a look through general news stories. If you do your research thoroughly you will soon see if a place has anything to hide.
Above all, remember to trust your instincts – remember that there is a reason we have this saying. In general, our instincts are usually right. If you are getting a bad vibe off a specific place, avoid it and look around for somewhere better.
James writes for North London home care agency The Extra Mile Care Co. When he isn’t blogging about live in care issues he’s out with his dog or learning to play his uke.