Finding a New Home         [Main Story]

f the option of an assisted living center or skilled nursing facility is being considered, it’s important to start the search sooner rather than later, because many places have waiting lists.

The first step is to research options on the Internet. Search for professional senior advocacy groups in your area. These Web sites provide much valuable information to guide your search. For example, the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM) Web site includes a consumer guide to help with choosing a facility as well as tips on financing care and useful checklists to use when visiting senior living/care facilities.

After identifying several possible facilities, use telephone interviews to narrow the list to three. While visiting these three facilities, use a checklist (another excellent example is at

Some of the most important points to consider include:
• Does the facility have a current government license?
• Is the facility clean, well-lit, and well-maintained?
• Is the temperature comfortable?
• Are activity schedules and menus for the week posted?
• Does a dietician plan menus for residents on special diets?
• Is the atmosphere generally friendly and welcoming?
• Do both staff and residents seem happy and content?
• Do residents appear well-groomed?
• Are worship/religious activities available?
• How often are residents seen by a physician?
• Are emergency services available?
• Is a licensed nurse always available?
• Are all services covered in the basic daily charge?
• Are rehabilitative services available?
• Will the facility handle insurance billing?
• Are residents/family members regularly surveyed on their
• How are disputes, problems, or complaints with the quality
 of care settled?
• Are family members welcome to visit at any time?
• Do you feel comfortable visiting the facility and leaving your
 loved one there?
• Are you committed to continuing involvement in your loved
 one’s life and care?

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