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5 Assisted Living Red Flags

Transitioning a parent into an assisted living facility can be difficult. All families try their best to select an assisted living facility that will provide quality care and support for their senior loved ones at an affordable price. But amidst the many phone calls, emails, site visits, and consultations required to choose the right assisted living facility, some families fail to see red flags and ultimately place their aging family member in an unsafe situation.

If you are searching for an assisted living facility for your elderly parent or loved one, here are some warning signs that should not be overlooked.

1. A History of Violations

Like nursing homes, assisted living facilities are subject to regulations at the state level. If you do your research, it’s easy to find out if a particular facility has a reputation for substandard care.

The Assisted Living Foundation of America (ALFA) has a state-by-state list of the agencies responsible for oversight of assisted living facilities. Contact the appropriate agency in your state and inquire about the assisted living facility’s history. Ask whether the facility has been subject to any disciplinary action for violating the laws applicable to assisted living providers in your state.

Independent news operation ProPublica also offers a search engine that allows users to compare nursing homes and other senior care facilities based on actions taken against them by regulators in the past few years.

2. High Rate of Staff Turnover

If an assisted living facility has a high rate of staff turnover that can be a telling warning sign. When consulting with potential assisted living facilities, ask about their key staff members and how long they’ve been working there. If an assisted living facility is little more than a revolving door for caretakers, think twice about placing your loved one there.

You should also pay close attention to interactions between residents and staff during site visits. Do staff members call residents by name? Do the residents look comfortable when interacting with staff members? Does the staff seem happy when you ask them questions about their work? The atmosphere at an assisted living facility can reveal a lot about the quality of care provided there.

3. Unanswered or Deflected Questions

When searching for an assisted living facility or after placing your loved one in an assisted living facility, be wary of unanswered or deflected questions. If staff avoid your questions or are unable to answer them, raise your concerns with the facility’s director. If you still can’t get answers, consider whether a different facility would be a better fit.

4. Complaints From Your Loved One

Moving into an assisted living facility is a major life adjustment, and leads to unhappiness in many seniors. If your loved one’s complaints go beyond those that are to be expected with a significant transition, follow up immediately. If your parent or loved one tells you that they don’t want to be cared for by a specific staff member, ask why. This could be a sign of abuse or neglect. Contact the facility immediately to let them know that your loved one has complained about a staff member and ask how the facility plans to address your concerns.

5. You Have a Bad Feeling About the Facility

If you have a bad feeling about an assisted living facility, follow your instincts. Never place your loved one in a facility that you don’t trust from the outset. If you become unsure that your loved one’s assisted living facility is providing adequate care and support, consider whether you should search for a facility better suited to your loved one’s needs.

We honor our loved ones by guaranteeing that they are cared for during their twilight years. If you detect any of the warning signs discussed in this post, take them seriously.

Article submitted by Michael McQuinn, Owner of The Manor of Marston Lake, 4800 Old S. Wadsworth Blvd Littleton, CO 80123 (303) 932-9808.

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