The truth about an assisted living community will probably never be found on their website or television commercial. If you look at almost any senior living/ senior care website they have happy smiling super attractive people. They’re walking (without walkers) or jumping on a trampoline. Those people don’t usually live in assisted living, if anything they live in independent living. But if you’re that independent they are staying in their own homes. If you want to know the truth about an assisted living visit one, unannounced. I know that all the websites tell you to call and schedule a tour but I say go in and set up a tour. Why? Unannounced visits means they can’t hide the things like odors or uncleanliness and by going into the building and setting up the tour you will then have an opportunity to go back in the building to give it a second chance if you feel at all apprehensive about your first impression.Click here talking to your parents about assisted living for more details.
When you walk into the building you shouldn’t be able to smell anything. Realistically there will be transient odors, after all you are in a giant house. But again those odors should be transient and when you walk past that same place 15-20 min later it should be gone. It should be clean, always remembering there are a lot of people who live there. Just because the carpet is worn or the wall paper is outdated DOES NOT MEAN your loved one will get bad care. Remember beauty is only skin deep. This is a giant house that is awake 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Keep in mind everyone living in assisted living is there for a reason. Because they need help, so they most likely will not look like the people on the website so please don’t be surprised. Assisted living is real life not sugar coated and very raw. This is uncomfortable for people especially a prospective resident or family member who just can’t quite see their loved one in “a place like this.” The truth is that this is as real as life gets. Aging is not politically correct and neither are any of the thousands of reasons people move to assisted living.
These communities are an equalizing melting pot filled with people who need assistance everyday and the people who care for them. It is a difficult job to be a caregiver. Ever single person who works at an assisted living is a caregiver in one way or another. More on that another time.