DIMENSIONS Spring 2001

CHOOSING AN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY

by Julie Cleveland

One of the most difficult challenges for families of individuals with dementia is to provide a safe, secure, and pleasant living environment. When the person with dementia is no longer able to live at home, an assisted living facility may be a good alternative. Assisted living (AL) facilities are designed to provide housing, meals, and care for individuals who need supervision and help with daily activities, but do not need the skilled nursing care provided in nursing homes. Some AL facilities specialize in dementia care, others provide more general care. Choosing the best one for your family member is a matter of finding the best fit between your family member's needs and the resources of the facility.

There are many issues to consider when selecting an assisted living facility. Consult a variety of sources to gather information on facilities. Take the time to visit each of the facilities you are considering before you choose one. Be sure to honestly discuss problems such as agitation, wandering, or incontinence, so you and the staff can make an informed decision about whether the facility can meet your family member's needs. Here are some more ideas about selecting an AL facility:

Assessment and Care Plan

Services and Health Care

People & Physical Environment

Recreational Activities

Costs and Contracts

Assisted-living facilities vary widely in the services they provide, what type of individuals they accept, and how much they cost. By asking the right questions, caregivers can choose the AL facility that will best fit their needs and those of the person with dementia.

For information about facilities in Washington State call the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services -Aging and Adult Services Administration at (800) 422-3263.


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