5 Tips for Making Your Visit to a CCRC or Assisted Living Community a Success
◇ Shared blog post from UMC at Bristol Glen
Choosing an assisted living community or CCRC for a loved one is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Your choice will affect both your loved one’s well-being, and your own peace of mind.
So you will do your research, get word-of-mouth recommendations, and when you are ready, you’ll inevitably want to take a tour of the communities on your shortlist. This is the best way to get a feel of the place and the people running it, ask any questions you may have, and see if it’s the right fit for your loved one.
Here are some tips on what to look for in order to get the most from your visit, and make the very best decision you can.
Hygiene and Cleanliness
Use all your senses when you visit an assisted living community – does it look fresh and clean? Are the buildings well-maintained? What are the housekeeping and laundry services for the apartments? Bad odors throughout the community along with poor maintenance can be a serious warning sign.
The quality of the staff — both in terms of their training and their character — are very important as it influences care and quality of life in the community. Observe members of staff as they interact with residents — are they cheerful and helpful? Do they focus on the resident and engage with them?
It’s a good chance to also ask questions about staffing, so you can find out how many people are involved in caring for the residents and how they are vetted for these positions. You should also meet with the management team as part of your tour.
Meal Times and Activities
Ask if you can have your tour during meal time or an activity, so you can see what these experiences are all about. Find out if you can join the residents for a meal, and see if you like it! The best assisted living communities have really emphasized the quality of the food and you have a right to expect something that tastes good, is nutritious and well prepared, not hospital-type mush.
Also ask to observe any group activities that may be in progress. Get to know the types of activities on offer, how many residents participate, and how they are managed, if the participants are having fun, chances are your loved one will have fun too!
Talk to your tour guide about personal care for residents and focus on possible future needs as well as your loved one’s current care needs, as they need to be able to scale services as required. CCRC’s offer a continuing care option. The idea is that the resident takes advantage of more and more services only as they need them, but they don’t have to move out of their apartment in the community unless medically necessary. While on your tour, observe other residents to see how they are being cared for — they should be well-groomed (hair and nails too) and dressed appropriately for the weather/activity. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with one of the residents, you’ll be surprised at how honest most seniors will be about their living experience.
You Can Take Multiple Tours
Don’t feel like you only get one shot at figuring all this out. Typically, the children or caregivers may check the communities out first before they bring mom and/or dad along. It is not uncommon for a family to make 2 or 3 visits to a community to make sure the fit is right. If you do make multiple visits, try to schedule them on different days and times so you get a broader feel for the operation of the community.
About United Methodist Communities of New Jersey
United Methodist Communities (UMC) is a not-for-profit organization whose 4 full service Assisted Living Communities deliver care to seniors across the state of New Jersey. For over 100 years, the faith-based organization has considered its charter to be “bringing the abundant life” to seniors from all walks of life and all faiths. Their full service Assisted Living Communities have consistently been rated “best of NJ” in several categories and represent some of the most advanced care models in the country.
UMC at Bristol Glen is a premiere assisted living community based in Sussex County NJ that provides seniors with a beautiful campus-like wooded setting, from which to enjoy carefree CCRC living. Founded on a philosophy of aging in place, our continuing care retirement community residents enjoy a less restrictive care model where they do not have to move from their residential apartment to access additional services as their needs change.