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Understanding the Commitment of Senior Living Providers

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Last week we talked about ways an older adult and their loved ones can evaluate the behind the scenes operations of a senior living community. How families can determine what the organization does to measure quality and hold itself accountable for achieving it.

This week we move on to tackle Commitment. It’s another area seniors and their families don’t often explore when they are searching for a senior living community. But it is an important discussion to have with the team at any community you are considering.

Commitment is the difference between a provider who says they evaluate prospective residents to see if “they are a good fit for the community” and a community that builds solutions around resident needs.

In order to understand commitment, there are some important questions you should be asking. 

Care Should be Patient Centered, Not Organization Centered

Moving is tough at any age. It can be physically, emotionally and mentally stressful. The older you are, the more difficult a move can be. A senior might be moving from a house they have lived in for decades. A home they may have raised their family in.

It’s another reason why finding a senior living community that is committed to care at all levels is vital. One of the last things you want is for your loved one to make a transition and settle in only to discover they have to move again when their care needs change.

Questions to Ask Senior Living Providers

Whether it is by design or by experience, some senior living communities are better able to provide care for higher level needs.

How can you objectively assess a senior living provider’s ability and commitment to resident care at all levels?

Here are a few questions you can ask to determine how each community delivers care within the parameters of their state’s assisted living regulations:

  • How many levels of care does the community offer?
  • What process is used to determine which level of care a resident is currently at?
  • How often does the community reevaluate each resident’s needs and level of care?
  • You may want to inquire about how their managerial coverage works.  Do they require only 1 manager on duty at any given time throughout the week, including weekends, or is there a consistent manager presence throughout the week?
  • How does the community train employees to excel in all levels of care a resident requires? Ask for specific examples.
  • What changes/circumstances would require a resident to move to another community or nursing home? Again, ask for specific examples. It is important that you understand if an organization is able to care for your loved one at all levels of care within the care level costs, or if outside help/expense is required for certain care scenarios.  Some common needs that can occur as your loved one ages:
    • Modified diets (pureed food and thickened liquids)
    • Two-person assistance to help your loved one with transfers and other activities of daily living
    • Mechanical lifts for transferring someone who has mobility difficulties

It is very important that you look for specific answers to these kinds of questions.  Good care costs money so bear in mind what services are included when you initially approach an assisted living community.  Finding a senior living community with a team who can confidently answer these questions should give you peace of mind that your loved one’s needs will be met now and in the future.

It also likely means you have found an experienced provider like Benchmark Senior Living. With a twenty-year history of caring for seniors, we have the systems in place that allow us to be truly present and engaged in resident care and happiness.

We hope you will join us again next week as our series continues. In our next article, we tackle the topic of defining Excellence in senior living. We will explore what excellence looks like in action and how it guides everyday operations.

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Jayne Sallerson is a warm, enthusiastic and compassionate executive with a heart for working with seniors. Jayne has been in senior care for more than 20 years and she says, “I still love what I do.” At Benchmark Senior Living, Jayne now serves as Executive Vice President. A native of New England, Jayne loves to travel, meet new people, and hang out with her favorite pug, Henry.
Jayne started this blog as a way to share the many questions she and her team get every day with other people looking for answers.