Choosing an aged care facility

Are you facing the possibility of moving an elderly parent or relative into an aged care facility?

Consider your criteria for an aged care facility

Are you facing the possibility of moving an elderly parent or relative into an aged care facility? It can be an emotional time for families especially if the elderly parent or relative can no longer take care of themselves and safely reside in their own home. Sometimes this means the decision to relocate someone into a facility is made in haste. Even if you aren’t looking to move an elderly parent or relative into care right now, you might want to start thinking about your criteria for a facility ahead of time.

These are some things to consider when looking to choose an aged care facility:

First impressions

It’s important to visit facilities together with your parent or loved one (where possible) to consider if the facility will best suit their needs. When visiting a facility you should consider things like the state of the grounds and garden, the maintenance of the building and also your parent/loved one’s reaction to it. After all if this is going to be their home, you ultimately want them to be in a safe and secure surrounding.

Good culture

A good culture in any organisation thrives on shared values and beliefs and a sense of belonging. When touring a facility take note of the surroundings, observe the staff and how they interact with each other and also with the residents. Do the residents appear happy and well cared for, are they engaging with each other and with the staff?

Review the house rules

As with any communal living facilities, there are ‘house rules’ for residents. Ask to read residential handbooks so you can determine what your loved one’s daily life might look like with regards to scheduled activities, specific times for meals, visiting hours and bed time etc.

Visitors

Maintaining social contact with your loved one will help them transition into residential living, so it is good for family and friends to play an active role with the transition. Ask about the rules for visitors to get an understanding of whether children and pets are welcome, if visitors are allowed to stay for meal time or even for overnight visits.

Health and wellbeing

Your loved one’s health and wellbeing has specific requirements so it’s good to have conversations up front about their needs, especially if you want their current medical specialists to continue treating them.

Find out if exercise and wellness programs are available for residents. For example, does the facility offer things like yoga, pilates, meditation or exercise programs like water work-outs or strength training?

Ultimately, life in an aged care home should provide your loved one with the care and support they need to live on and live well.

For more information visit the following websites:
Aged Care Guide website and printed directory
COTA Victoria website
Ageing and Aged Care website

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