How Do I Pick the Best Facility for Dad?
"My dad has dementia, and I don’t think he can live alone much longer. He’s willing to live in a memory care facility. How will I know if the facility we choose is a good one?
Is there some form or checklist I could complete? Is there a rating system I could look at like there is for hotels?
I feel so responsible and a bit fearful that I will make a bad choice. I need some advice on how to go about this process."
Making the choice of which facility if best for your father is a tough one. No one wants an unhappy parent, not to mention siblings, nor do you want to be at odds with the facility the entire time he’s in residence.
There indeed are ways to approach making this decision that I recommend. To start, consider the ideal location and draw a radius around what you think is the perfect spot. That will be the area you look in. Location is very important, though the best facility might not be dead center in your designated search area. Give yourself the radius to explore. Consider that you will need to visit frequently, and your convenience is very important. Being able to just stop in for 10 minutes matters, because it keeps you connected.
Now that you’ve drawn your circle, list all the facilities within. Find out what you can about them online, and schedule tours and interviews at the ones you’re interested in. Start a spreadsheet and create columns where you can list things such as the following: monthly cost, add-on costs, number of residents and their similarities to dad, size of personal space, level of care provided and by whom, payor mix of residents, activities, food quality, cleanliness, etc.
Also ask the opinion of others. Speak with dad’s physician if you can. Hospital case managers are a great resource if he’s in the hospital. The Department of Aging in your community can be very helpful. Speak with others who have family members in the facility. Yes, you can ask the facility for a reference, though know it will not be unbiased. And you can always search the internet for reviews, but take them with a grain of salt. The most vocal seem to have a beef when in fact they may be the problem. Under anonymity, people say all sorts of things they wouldn’t otherwise.
The search for a good facility will take time and effort to come to the best conclusion for your family. It is also an emotional journey I recommend you share with siblings if you have them. I wish you success in locating the best facility for your father.
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