Just this month, another California assisted living facility is under fire for neglecting patients during a transitional period of relocation. All of this, after a mid-October suspension of license upon the discovery that medication was being improperly distributed, employees were not being given background checks, and the lack of training being provided to employees. Given the lack of facility hygiene and amidst suspicions of elder abuse, three employee caregivers serving the home without pay called police to report gross neglect.
This story is far from the first of its kind—unfortunately, it repeats itself every month, week, day across the United States. Overwhelmed by the generally sudden prospect of caring for an elderly family member who may be suffering from a varying degree of memory loss, more and more individuals are turning to care facilities. If the prospect of seeing your loved one suffer at the hands of an ill-equipped facility makes you weary but the idea of independently caring for your loved one is too much to bare, take note—there are resources available to ensure that your family member is safe, loved, and well cared for.
Before you make care arrangements for your family member, make sure you consult a Senior Care Advisor. These people will often work for care facilities (in home, apartment communities, independently contracted nurses, etc) but are a good resource for choosing the facility that is right for you. Often, referral agencies will be able to put you in touch with someone who can help. You can also contact the Society of Certified Senior Advisors, a professional network of advisors who may assist you.
Fortunately, sites like Care Compare allow you to view user-submitted reviews for all homes or services in their network of care professionals. This is a great way to evaluate a particular facility—if there’s a problem, someone is very likely to have written about it. Because these reviews come from individuals and families, they’re generally unbiased and informative.
Take a Tour
Luckily, most reputable facilities will allow you to tour them as many times as you like, be they assisted living facilities or office buildings that dispatch in-home care professionals. If they refuse, this is a major red flag—seek facilities who are open, willing to work with you, and committed to finding answers for all of your questions. In these cases, rely on your instincts. If a facility or company doesn’t pass the smell test, it may not be the right fit for you.
Finally, get as much information as you can from the resource at your immediate fingertips—the internet. Many individuals are blogging about their experiences with senior care, good and bad. These kinds of personal accounts of caregiving can help you make a choice that is right for you and your loved one.
Elder abuse is not the norm, but it is certainly something to be aware of as you prepare to make potentially difficult decisions regarding those you love. By being aware and informed, you ensure care that meets your needs and offers plenty of loving support for your loved one.