10 Things Every Complete Senior Living Facility Needs

The decision to have a loved one make the transition to a complete senior living facility is never easy. It means a lot of changes and time for adjustment for everyone. Senior living can take several forms. For instance, an assisted living situation where people maintain their independence but have support when needed. It can also mean a nursing home where your family members will receive more supervision with medical and other care as needed.

Regardless of the facility type, you want to ensure your loved one is comfortable and happy. The fear of the unknown and the change of environment can be scary and stressful for everyone, especially the person making the move. However, choosing a suitable facility can help quell some of those emotions. It begins with knowing what to look for and what to expect in a quality space.

A good senior living home will be well-equipped with everything needed to keep your loved one safe and healthy, as well as socially and cognitively engaged. While it won’t be the home they were used to, the right place could be a new beginning, and even full of excitement and new adventures. They’ll have the opportunity to make new friends, bond with staff, and even enjoy their new surroundings. While every place won’t offer the same services in the same way, below is a list of things that every good senior living facility should need.

1. Amenities

A high-quality senior living facility should allow its residents to experience the same quality of life (or better) they did before their move. That means providing them with features, creature comforts, and services that they would need or use regularly. Some amenities that these facilities need to include transportation (to doctors’ appointments, shopping, etc.), dining options (dining room, cafĂ©, vending machines), housekeeping, laundry room/services, fitness center, a game room (with a pool table, ping pong, etc.), medication management, and a hair and nail salon. These are all needed amenities that help support hygiene, mental, and physical health.

Additionally, complete senior living facilities should provide a library or book cart, a computer room, a pool for both exercise and therapy, arts and crafts (painting, knitting, pottery), and an outdoor area where residents can sit and relax or go for a stroll. Many senior facilities also provide entertainment in the form of live bands, comedians, and community socials. Keeping residents socially engaged and treated like adults is one of the most important parts of keeping them emotionally and mentally healthy.

So be sure the entertainment is well-balanced and not immature (like clowns and petting zoos). Most adults enjoy that when they’re with children, not other adults. Some facilities even have happy hour, where (those who are medically able) can sit and enjoy a beer or glass of wine.

An assisted living facility should also offer an on-call concierge service that helps residents with daily tasks like helping to retrieve an out-of-reach item, making phone calls, or other daily life tasks they need help with. The key word for amenities is dignity. All facilities should be providing amenities that maintain and promote dignity.

2. Professional Cleaning Services

Maintaining a clean and sanitary environment within senior living facilities is vital to the health and well-being of both residents and staff. That’s why the employment of regular cleaning services with specialized expertise is needed. Daily cleaning is necessary to keep germs and bacteria at bay, as well as to keep everything neat. The cleaning crew should follow the CDC guidelines on using supplies and equipment that kill disease-causing microbes and promote infection prevention.

Since the onset of Covid, many nursing homes have increased the amount of cleaning and disinfecting they do. Unlike typical house cleaners that come a few times a month, a senior living cleaning crew is employed full time, so they can work throughout the day and evening to not only keep residents’ personal space in order but also common areas like kitchens, bathrooms, lounge areas, and game rooms. Cleaning people should regularly disinfect high-traffic and high-touch areas like doorknobs, countertops, and furniture.

They should ensure that the floors and carpeting are kept clean and trash cans are emptied. Good cleaning crew staff can be seen throughout the day and be easily accessible to residents and staff when needed for emergencies. Cleaning services may include a sub category for laundry services which may include just linens or anything the resident needs washed, dried, and pressed.

3. Chiropractic Care

While some may think that chiropractic treatment is not advisable for older people, it’s been shown to be a safe and effective way to improve their quality of life. Spinal Adjustments and gentle manipulation of the body by a chiropractor have been shown to improve flexibility, mobility, and balance, reducing the risk of falling. Chiropractors can also help relieve aches and chronic pain that many people face as they age, and treatment can even help recover from surgery.

Other treatments like massage, stretching, heat, and electrical stimulation can help reduce joint inflammation due to arthritis. This will allow people to participate in exercise, walking, and other social activities that otherwise might be limited by mobility issues. Having a chiropractor on staff at senior-loving facilities goes a long way to improving the overall quality of life for residents.

4. Daily Care Services

While assisted living and nursing homes are the most common types of senior facilities, another option gaining traction in the past several years is daily adult care services or adult day care. This is an excellent option for elderly folks who can live with loved ones but need help with daily care while their family works or is at school. Daily care services can include transportation, meals, help with medication, and therapy.

However, the basic idea is to provide social interaction, company, and daily activities. The client gets to have their daily care requirements fulfilled, and their family can rest easy knowing their relative is in a safe and caring place. Daily care services in a nursing home setting would be similar to adult daycare but would likely include assistance with bathing and other self-care objectives. Other care may consist of help in making phone calls, dressing, writing a note, choosing a show to watch, or general companion care.

5. Protective Flooring

Safe flooring is an essential part of complete senior living homes. Residents and staff need a durable, stable, and slip-resistant material to walk safely. Often, residents are unsteady or use assistive devices like wheelchairs, canes, and walkers to get around. So, they must have trustworthy flooring to feel confident walking on. It’s just as important for staff to have durable flooring to transport equipment and clean it easily.

Typically, you won’t see too much carpet flooring in these facilities. It’s more common for these buildings to install rubber, cork, or safety vinyl flooring. Rubber and cork are both easy to walk on and slip-resistant. They’re also water-resistant and easy to clean. However, the flooring you’ll find the most in senior homes is called safety vinyl. This is made explicitly for medical-related buildings like hospitals and nursing homes to reduce the risk of slips and trips.

6. Specialized Doctors

When researching senior care options, always look into the staff. In addition to registered nurses and general practitioners, all care facilities should have specialized doctors on staff or at least on call. As we age, we all need doctors who specialize in various fields. It would help if you were confident that your family members would have the necessary doctors, including cardiologists, neurologists, podiatrists, dermatologists, orthopedists, gastroenterologists, and oncologists.

Many people enter into care due to strokes, heart attacks, or broken bones, so having professionals like physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists on staff is also essential. There should also be annual visits to a dentist and ophthalmologist scheduled. If the facility does not have a particular specialist on staff, arrangements should easily be able to be made to transport an individual to an appointment with the physician they need to see.

7. Memory Loss Care

There’s not much else that’s more heartbreaking than watching a loved one slip away due to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. As sad as it is for family members, it can be confusing, frustrating, and terrifying for the person to whom it’s happening. Even if these dreaded diseases are not the initial reason for the move to senior care, they, unfortunately, loom in the background for everyone, so all senior care facilities should be equipped with a memory care unit.

These specialized care units have trained staff and medical personnel who can offer personalized treatment for Alzheimer’s and dementia care services. This is often provided in a separate area with heightened security and safety measures to prevent wandering and decrease the chance of injury. There’s more personalized care for bathing, eating, and daily tasks.

Often, a personal aide is assigned to patients. Solid routines are implemented, and a regular staff schedule is in place to help reduce confusion and help with recall. Activities and games that promote cognitive development and memory improvement are a regular part of the day in a memory care unit. Things like puzzles, word games, reading, gardening, and crafting are daily in these units. Personalized meal plans that support brain health are offered to residents as well.

8. Mold Remediation

Mold remediation services should regularly be part of maintenance at all complete senior living facilities. While many places don’t have an issue, or it’s very infrequent, it’s vital that there’s a plan in place, and it can be implemented as soon as mold is spotted. Mold can be a health hazard when a person is young and healthy. It can cause headaches, respiratory issues, skin rashes, and other symptoms.

So, it’s hazardous when someone is older and has underlying health conditions. Since nursing homes have a large population with many sources of moisture, the threat of mold is a real one. Proper remediation includes finding the source, adequate removal and disposal, and disinfecting the area.

9. Waste Removal Services

All complete senior living facilities should have proper waste removal procedures in place. Typically, this begins with a general trash collector. All resident’s rooms, bathrooms, and common areas should have trash receptacles that are emptied daily. The trash should be taken out and stored in a secure dumpster.

However, these facilities also have medical waste that needs to be disposed of differently. Medical waste includes anything with blood, syringes, diabetic products, bodily excretions, and biological cultures. These items should be placed in specialized containers (like a Sharpie container for syringes) and placed outside for pickup and disposal by a particular medical disposal company. Proper waste management and disposal ensures that the spread of germs and bacteria will be kept under control. It will also help maintain a neat and pleasant environment.

10. HVAC Services

Regular heating and AC services are a vital part of any senior living facility. The comfort of the residents and staff is essential. But these services help to ensure the health and well-being of everyone as well. As you would expect, many senior living residents have health conditions related to the respiratory and pulmonary systems, and many have a poor immune system and are prone to infection.

Maintaining cooler temperatures can often help relieve symptoms related to asthma, emphysema, and COPD. Many HVAC professionals specialize in working with hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities to install equipment and filtration systems that help control dust, mold, germs, and pollen. Some systems can utilize ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide to kill certain germs. The HVAC crew will also ensure a proper humidity level is maintained, which maximizes comfort while controlling infection and helping maintain a clean and sterile environment.

Senior living facilities tend to get a rap. But there are many more great places out there than bad. Essentially, it’s up to you and your family to research and tour facilities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask if they have the services listed above. While you or your loved one may not need them all, it’s comforting to know that they’re available.

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