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Tips For Selecting A Quality Senior Living Facility

By Joey Stiner

One of the most difficult times you may ever have with your senior loved one is the discussion about having them move into a facility. Sometimes it goes easily, other times not at all. But once you have gotten through that difficult discussion it isn’t necessarily smooth sailing from then on. The next step can be almost as difficult. That is actually finding a facility that you can trust and that will take care of your loved one. There is no magic bullet for finding that perfect place but we have collect a few questions and ideas that should help the process along.

So here you are, stepping across the threshold of the first facility on your list. You’re a bit nervous and a little out of your element. What should you do first? Well the first thing you should do is relax and the second is take a deep breath. How does it smell? Does it smell clean inside? Is it fresh? Would you be happy breathing that air everyday? If the answer is no, they don’t ignore it. A poor smelling facility is never acceptable and could be an indicator of a real problem with the running of that facility. Find out why it smells bad and if the answer is not to your liking, move on to the next place.

Okay, the place has passed the smell test, now the look test. How does the place look? Its okay if its older but is it well maintained? Is paint peeling off the walls? Is the furniture old and worn? Is the carpet in good shape? If the answer to any of these question is no, then ask the manager about it. It could mean one of several things, none are good. Either the owner is too lazy to update the facility, doesn’t care about the facility, or doesn’t have the money to spend to take care of the facility. You should ask yourself a question if this is the case; if the owner won’t spend the money on the facility, will they spend it on your loved one?

You’ve smelled and you’ve looked, everything seems fine. Now you can do some talking. You will have plenty to discuss with the manager but I want you to talk to at least one of the caregivers, maybe more. Don’t announce your intention before you get to the facility, let it be a surprise so nothing can be prepared. If the manager is uncomfortable with the idea, let them know that makes your uncomfortable. After all, what would they have to hide? Once you do get a chance to talk to a caregiver how easy is it to relate to them? Are they warm and friendly? Would you want them taking care of you? Is there English good enough to understand what your senior may want or need? How long have they worked there? If its been a short time, make note. Facilities with high turnover are a problem. Employees leave quickly because they are not happy working there. Either they aren’t paid a market rate or the manager is difficult to work with. It really doesn’t matter the reason because an unhappy caregiver is not going to do a good job with your senior.

Okay, the tour is over and you are wrapping up, don’t forget an important request. Ask for references. Even though the owner will be giving you names of all their happiest clients, you could still learn a thing or two that you wouldn’t have found out any other way. If the facility has some real problems, even the happiest clients will know about it and will probably be willing to at least hint at it.

I think you get an idea of the mindset you should have when looking at a facility. There are dozens of thinks you should look for and questions you should ask. The bottom line is to imagine you were going to move into the facility. If there are things there that make you uncomfortable then they are probably a real problem, don’t ignore it.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Stiner, Joey "Tips For Selecting A Quality Senior Living Facility." Tips For Selecting A Quality Senior Living Facility. 11 Jul. 2010. 30 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Stiner, J (2010, July 11). Tips For Selecting A Quality Senior Living Facility. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Stiner, Joey "Tips For Selecting A Quality Senior Living Facility"

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