How to choose the perfect retirement home?

Homes for seniors often evoke associations with loneliness, forgetfulness by the family, cut off from normal life, the world and everyday life. Wrongly – for an elderly person, it does not mean taking away their freedom and independence. 

Seniors are usually reluctant to accept help and consider moving to a retirement home as the end of life and a journey of no return. By placing our loved one in a retirement home, do we really isolate them and condemn them to lack of contact with the family?

After all, placing an elderly person in a care home can be a very good step by providing the company of fellow residents of a similar age. Seniors participate in various activities adapted to their age, they also organize numerous events themselves. In addition, care is taken over by qualified personnel, which can significantly reduce the stress factor, both in the case of the elderly and their relatives. As a result, during the meetings, both parties can concentrate on each other and celebrate their time together. 

Retirement home, or for whom?

Theoretically, homes for seniors accept everyone, but in practice, people who are chronically ill, who use medical equipment on a daily basis, or the infirm need full-time care. Sometimes it is the family, seeing that it is unable to cope with the hardships of nursing alone, and decides to place the loved one in a care home.

What determines the move?

When considering a move it is a good idea to first try to find out if the senior is feeling lonely while observing the senior. Does he sit silently for hours, staring out the window? This may mean the need for the company of peers, because even if the caregiver tries very hard, it is one thing to talk to a co-age with similar experience and another to talk to someone who is much younger and busy. 

The second important indication for moving is a doctor’s advice about deteriorating health and the need for better medical care, regular medication or access to medical devices.

How to choose the perfect retirement home?

Reputable seniors’ homes often have a waiting line. If you are serious about moving, you need to be patient. The search for the perfect place may take up to six months, but in return, you can be sure of the gratitude of an older person. In order to make a choice, you (the senior caregiver who expects professional care and the senior himself who is to feel safe and comfortable) pay attention to the following aspects:

A careful overview

Try to get the addresses of as many homes for seniors as possible in your area. Read online reviews, ask on online forums, look around for friends who have used such services. Call individual locations to collect information. Make a comparison, even in the table on the sheet of paper (pros and cons).

First visit

Select at least three places worth visiting from the previously created list. Make an appointment to have a closer look at them. During the visit, they not only look at everything and pay attention to the equipment (including medical equipment), but try to put yourself in the senior’s shoes. How would he feel there? Do you feel comfortable there? What’s the atmosphere like? Are the nurses and nannies / carers friendly and accommodating to residents? How many people live there? What activities and entertainment are provided? How do seniors treat each other? Remember that your loved one will spend most of their time there, but it is also important for your well-being that they feel good there. Write down all the collected information, because you can simply forget it after several consecutive visits. Notes will allow you to organize the collected data and access it at any time to compare. You should look at each aspect from several perspectives and make a proper assessment. 

Quality of care

Whenever possible, you should check on the retirement home workers. Find out about their qualifications and work experience, as well as work experience in the current place. Frequent staff changes in the nursing home are not a good predictor. Try to find out how many people are the staff, not only directly related to the residents, but also auxiliary: cleaning or cooking. Ask for every detail: what is the supply of medical supplies, how are the meals prepared, is there a doctor on site around the clock. Sometimes one seemingly small detail determines the correctness of the care provided. 

Cost comparison

Don’t let price determine your choice, but pay attention to the costs and especially their relation to the care offered. Measure your strength against intentions, i.e. choose the facility that you need to pay for. 

Trial stay

In many places, you can stay a few days for a trial. It is an ideal way to test a retirement home and compare reality with the texts from advertising brochures. First of all, talk to the senior, ask for impressions, ask about the atmosphere, other residents, care, how he felt around his fellow residents. The opinion of a loved one should determine the choice, after all, it will be she who will spend time there. Compare these feelings with your notes, check if they are reflected in them.