Moving a family member into Aged Care is usually a very difficult task. Often the need arises following an illness or injury, the result of which is that a loved one can no longer care for themselves in their own home. There is often little time available to research and make decisions (particularly if a hospital is involved), as the hospital faced tries to move them along to a facility which can provide a longer term solution.
For many people, moving a family member into an aged care facility will be their first contact with the aged care industry, and this can be quite daunting. The pressure of finding the right home and doing so quickly, combined with the concerns for the wellbeing of a parent make for a stressful combination.
We spoke to Janeene Lycett of Chesalon about the difficulties families face when choosing an Aged Care facility, and asked her how she would go about choosing a place for her parents.
What would you look for in a facility?
There are a number of questions to ask and consider, such as:
- What is the level of service offered by a facility?
- Is it a standard facility or does it offer extra services?
- If so, are they appropriate for both you and your family member’s needs?
- Is it affordable?
- Who owns and runs the facility?
- Are they well known, and do they have a good reputation?
Extra services can include more modern facilities, a choice of food and in some cases, alcohol at meal times, internet access and individual air-conditioning controls, among other things. Extra services does not mean extra care as the level of care is legislated. It is important to recognize that extra services do come at a cost, and this must be factored into your calculations to ensure your care is affordable now and in the longer term.
There are a number of large operators of aged care facilities. Some of these are religious organisations or other not for profit groups. There are also some large companies (for profit) organisations. You should be comfortable with the organization standing behind the facility.
Most important though, is your gut feel. What is your first impression when you walk into the facility? Does it look well maintained and clean? Do the residents look happy and well cared for? There is a lot to be said for first impressions, and if your initial impressions aren’t favourable then you are probably better off looking at the next place on your list.
What issues are important in the selection process?
The location and proximity of the aged care facility to family is very important. Families are now often spread over wide areas which can make it difficult for some to be involved in the ongoing care process. It is very important to select a facility that is located close to one family member who is both willing and able to visit and to be involved in their care.
If at all possible the facility should be located close to friends, but unfortunately this is not always possible.
The age of the facility is one of the least important factors, provided it is well maintained. You should not automatically exclude a facility just because it is located in an older building.