A: The trick is to find the good assisted living community that makes your family member happy and provides good health care.
Let us start with the health care side first:
What services does the community provide? Ask specific, detailed questions.
Some suggestions are below:
Will they bathe your mother? How often?
Administer the medicine or just supervise her when she takes it? Again, ask for specific details. Can they open the pill bottle? Hand the pills to the resident?
How many meals do they provide daily? Weekends? Can you pay extra to get more meals?
If someone is sick and cannot make it to the dining room, will someone bring a meal to his or her apartment? How much extra does this cost? Is there a limit to how often they will do it? What about guest meals?
What are the emergency medical procedures? Ask specifics here, too. What do they do other than dial 911?
Will they provide transportation to and from doctor appointments?
How is the organization staffed during evenings and weekends? How many nurses are on duty? What kind of nurses? Doctors?
Is there a medical staff of board-certified geriatricians? Consulting specialists? Nurse practitioners?
What routine medical services and facilities are available on-site (for example x-rays, dental, auditory testing)?
Does the organization have an affiliation with any medical schools or clinical research programs?
How are medical situations handled if they are beyond the organization’s capabilities? If a resident needs to go to the hospital or a specialist, are they accompanied by a staff member from the organization?
Does the organization offer physical, occupational, and other therapies? How often?
Does the organization’s dementia special care unit provide a physical environment that is specially designed for the safety of the residents?