So you’ve narrowed your senior housing search down to two or three of the most appropriate facilities for your elderly parent or parents. You’ve toured them all, sometimes more than once. You’ve asked all their staff the right questions. You’ve talked to knowing professionals, such as your AssistedLiving.com Senior Living Advisor and the local long-term care ombudsman, about their honest opinions of your remaining options. You’ve even viewed the community’s inspection results on your state website, but you still can’t make up your mind. What’s the next step in your decision making process?
An unannounced visit – a “secret mission” – may be the best next step to as you make your choice.
Finding the Truth About Assisted Living Facilities You’re Considering
Unannounced visits are helpful because they allow you to see the community and it’s staff during their regular mode if operation rather than during a carefully prepared visit. In a more candid and less staged environment than the regular tour, You may be able to observe such considerations as:
- Organization and orderliness
- Cleanliness and smell
- Whether residents seem content and are being attended to
- The general attitude and friendliness of the staff
Any reputable assisted living communities will welcome such visits because they truly having nothing to hide.
Even Secret Agents are Courteous Guests
When you visit you must remember that you are still a guest, despite the fact your visit is somewhat on the sly. Make sure to check in when appropriate (don’t be sneaking in!), and explain honestly and clearly what you’re doing. “I’m thinking about moving my mom here and I just wanted to take a quick look at the community at a time when you weren’t expecting a guest.”
The staff will understand. Any one of them would do the same if they were in the process of searching for care for their mothers. And to be courteous, don’t go on your “secret mission” before about 7am or after about 8pm. Do, though, think about visiting on the weekend. That’s a great time for your “secret mission” because you can see how weekend staff operate the community.
So your secret mission, should you choose to accept it, doesn’t involve a “license to kill” but it does involve an obligation to observe.