Sooner or later, for huge numbers of Americans, assisted living becomes an important issue. Whether it’s for ourselves or someone we love, the task of finding a quality assisted living facility is not something to be taken lightly. It’s a decision that directly impacts quality of life for the people we hold most dear.
Naturally, people often wish they didn’t have to make such a decision. It would be nice if all of the necessary care could be provided by the family itself—but in so many cases, that’s just not a realistic solution. Even if the pressures of everyday life weren’t a factor, there’s the glaring reality that professional care is required. You may have all the time in the world, and may want to be the caregiver—but the truth is, you may not have the training, skills or equipment to provide the level of care needed.
That’s when finding assisted living NJ (or wherever you live) becomes a very real necessity. That’s why it’s so important to understand these facilities—and everything they offer—on a deeper level. You may not be able to avoid the need for professional care, but you can guide your family member toward a facility that offers an excellent standard of care and a high quality of life.
So what makes a good assisted living facility?
Knowing the answer to this very simple question is perhaps the most important step toward finding the right assisted living facility for your loved one. It stands to reason that if families don’t understand what makes an assisted living facility stand out, they won’t be able to navigate the complex landscape of managed care and actually locate the best people for the job.
To make things easier, let’s look at assisted living NJ from seven different angles: Surroundings, indoor facilities, people, personal care, activities, convenience, and chemistry.
The surroundings are important for obvious reasons. Most people prefer plenty of greenery and natural landscapes to walk around in. Natural surroundings have also been linked to physical and mental wellbeing for aging adults. Since the residents of the facility aren’t able to maintain the property themselves, the facility itself should be committed to maintaining an impeccable outdoor environment with plenty of spaces to walk, sit, exercise and socialize.
The indoor facilities are even more important than the surroundings. People are often worried that their family members will be living in a sterile, drab, uninviting place. Certain “homes for the elderly” have developed this unfortunate reputation in the past. The furniture would be old, the common areas boring, and residents did not seem to be enjoying themselves very much at all. This is an image that makes every loving family member cringe.
Today’s modern assisted living facility is much different. You should expect the indoor common spaces, as well as the private units, to be warm, inviting, cozy and spacious. There should plenty of modern furniture, dedicated activity spaces, and lounge areas for socializing with family and other residents. Natural light is a must, along with plenty of clear views to greenery and other natural features. All indoor areas should be kept scrupulously clean throughout. In terms of support and mobility, the latest amenities should be installed throughout the facility, in both social and private areas, making it easy for residents with mobility issues to get around.
Even if a facility is well-designed and maintained, it simply can’t offer a high quality of life unless the right people are involved. The fact is, your loved one is going to need professional care, and some aspects of that care will be sensitive in nature. That’s why the best assisted living facilities in New Jersey only hire caregivers with high levels of training, experience and professionalism—along with a warm and dynamic personality!
Think about it: Do you want the personal care your loved one requires to be something they dread, simply because the caregiver isn’t properly trained or “cut out” for this kind of work? Of course not. You want caregivers who are going to bond with your loved one and bring happiness, even if your loved one isn’t having the best day. You want people who go the extra mile because they love their jobs and actually care about the people they serve.
A good assisted living facility also needs strong logistics and protocols in terms of personal care and how it’s managed. Day or night, your loved one needs a reliable team in their corner—people who are equipped to help with everything from minor tasks to serious medical issues. When you look at assisted living facilities in New Jersey or around your location, always focus on facilities that demonstrate high levels of organization, scheduling and hygiene. The last thing you want is to leave your loved one in the care of people who cut corners in these vital areas, resulting in disorganized and inefficient care practices.
You also want to make sure that the facility will be able to provide more advanced levels of care in the future. If your loved one grows to love an assisted living facility and its people, yet their caregiving needs progress beyond the facility’s capabilities, everyone involved can be put in a very difficult position. Ensuring that the facility will be able to offer progressive levels of care is important.
How will your loved one spend his or her days in a given assisted living facility? No question is more important. The whole purpose of assisted living is to afford your family member a higher quality of life—a life that includes not only the logistical care needed, but a strong curriculum of activities and groups in which your loved one can participate. One of the advantages of quality assisted living in NJ is the social opportunities it provides. Residents should have all the privacy they need, but without the sense of isolation that people in low-quality facilities have often reported in the past.
You might not be able to personally provide the level of care your loved one requires, but you still want to be a very active part of their lives, with regular mutual visits. This can be difficult if your loved one lives at a facility more than two hours away. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a facility that’s close enough to make regular visits easy, without compromising on any of the other vital areas listed here.
Finally, we can look at good assisted living centers in terms of chemistry. This is a general marker of how your loved one feels about a place, from the services and amenities to the caregivers and fellow residents. Sometimes a facility “seems” to check all the right boxes, yet the chemistry just isn’t there. That’s why it’s so important to maintain an open and honest dialogue with your loved one, and talk through the issues that matter. Don’t make the mistake of looking at assisted living from a purely pragmatic point of view. Whether or not your loved one is able to develop a true connection to their surroundings, and really call it “home,” is one of the most important issues to address.
Finding information that matters
Now that you understand the vital components of quality assisted living in New Jersey, you might be asking yourself: What’s the best way to identify these qualities?
Your search will probably begin in the most convenient way, and will progress toward more refined and personal research. For example, you’ll probably want to search the internet for assisted living facilities in your area. As you look through the results, keep an eye out for web sites that are clearly designed with plenty of photos, videos, interviews and other in-depth content about the facility and its philosophy. Also take notice of review scores on popular social reviewing platforms. The experience and testimonials of other families are a priceless resource.
As your research moves out of cyberspace and into the real world, you’ll want to reach out to people you know—neighbors, friends, extended family members—to learn about their experiences with assisted living. People who are part of your loved one’s network of medical care, including doctors and social workers, might also have valuable opinions on assisted living facilities in the area.
Making personal visits (together with your loved one, whenever possible) will always be the most important step in finding assisted living centers of the highest qualities. This enables you to do some any important things: See the facilities for yourself, talk to other residence about how they like living there, speak directly with caregivers, observe planned activities, discuss specific caregiving needs, inspect a private residence, and even try the food. No matter how much preliminary research you do, personal visits will always be a key deciding factor.
It doesn’t have to be complicated
Choosing an assisted living facility seems like a daunting task—and if you leave it too late, it can be. That’s why it pays to think about assisted living ahead of time. Envision the kind of life and caregiving you want your loved one to have. Talk to your loved one about their concerns, and maintain an open dialogue. Look for the highest rated assisted living facilities in NJ and throughout the country, taking note of why people heap so much praise on them. Talk to caregiving professionals and visit assisted living facilities in your area and look for the qualities that matter to your family.
The more informed you are about this life-changing decision, the better equipped you’ll be to make the right choice for assisted living and start a positive new chapter for you and your loved one.