Assisted Living Facilities

When to consider care outside the home

One of the most difficult experiences for family caregivers of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder is deciding when to consider placement outside the home. Caregivers should ask themselves the following questions to evaluate their situation:

  1. Is the person with memory loss becoming unsafe in their home?
  2. Is constant care required beyond my physical capability?
  3. Am I becoming impatient or irritable toward the person for whom
    I am caring?
  4. Would structured activities and increased social interaction benefit the
    person I care for?
  5. Am I neglecting my family, my job or myself in order to provide care?
  6. Would placement outside the home result in more enjoyable visits and
    outings with the person I care for?

Your answers to those questions can help you determine if placement outside the home is the best decision.

What to look for when visiting care facilities:

Environment

License: Ask to see the facility’s valid California State License, issued by the State of California, Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division.

Atmosphere: When you walk in do you “feel” the nurturing, loving, and supportive environment your loved one needs and deserves?

Living space: Is there indoor and outdoor space? Are there safe walking paths or secured access to fresh air and outdoor activities?

Visiting hours: Does the visitation policy meet your needs? Visit unannounced at different times to see the staff interact with residents.

Structure: Is the facility designed and constructed with the abilities, comfort, and freedom of the resident in mind?

People

Staff: Has the staff been screened and properly trained? Residents with memory loss present unique challenges to staff, requiring ongoing training.

Administrator: Does the Administrator seem knowledgeable about dementia and the special care required?

Physical contact: Is there positive physical contact between staff and residents – a warm touch, an arm around the shoulders?

Humor: Do staff and residents interact joyfully and set a tone of lightheartedness?

Verbal cues: How do staff redirect a resident? Do they command or encourage?

Residents

Personal care: Is care (bathing, toileting, etc.) done with respect and dignity for the resident?

Resident behavior: Are some residents sitting quietly or sleeping? Are some residents moving around freely? These are normal behaviors and should be allowed in a safe environment.

Personal belongings: Are residents allowed to bring in furniture, bedding, and photos that are familiar to them? This helps them to feel “at home” and gives them a sense of belonging and not being lost.

Level of function: Ask what happens when the person needs a higher level of care. Can the facility accommodate residents with a wide range of abilities?

Activities

Home life: Can the residents participate in meaningful activities such as setting the table, washing dishes, folding the laundry, etc.?

Programming: What does the structured activity program look like? Are projects interesting and success-oriented? Are activities planned with the dementia resident in mind?

Assisted Living Facilities Resources

A Home That Cares
(310) 592-2381
ahomethatcares.com
Referrals to RCFEs in LA County

A Place for Mom
Referrals to RCFEs nationwide
(888) 857-0796
aplaceformom.com
Services available in Spanish

Assisted Living Locators
Referrals to RCFEs in LA County
(310) 853-8282
assistedlivinglocatorsla.com

California Registry
Referrals to RCFEs and nursing facilities statewide
(800) 777-7575
calregistry.com

Care Patrol
Referrals to RCFEs & nursing facilities nationwide
(866) 560-5656
carepatrol.com

Caring.com
Referrals to RCFEs & nursing facilities nationwide
(800) 973-1540
caring.com

Concepts for Living
Referrals to RCFEs in LA County
(800) 414-4242
conceptsforliving.com

Connections Care Home Referrals
Referrals to RCFEs in Los Angeles, San Bernardino & Riverside counties
(800) 330-5993
carehomefinders.com
Services available in Spanish

Elderlink
Referrals to RCFEs & nursing facilities statewide
(800) 613-5772
elderlink.org

Heart Light
Referrals to RCFEs in LA County
(310) 204-2223
heartlightonline.com

Helping Hands Foundation
Assists with placement in LA and Ventura Counties
(818) 279-6580
helpinghandsla.org

MeriCare
Referrals to RCFEs in LA County
(818) 400-7679
mericares.com

Premier Residential Solutions
Referrals to RCFEs in LA County
(818) 876-9999
premierresidentialsolutions.com

Senior Placement Hotline
Referrals to RCFEs and nursing facilities in LA County
(877) 353-3756
placementhotline.com

Southern California Senior Resources
Referrals to RCFEs in So. California
(866) 697-3646
socalseniors.com
Services available in Spanish

Total Senior
Referrals to RCFEs in LA County
(818) 570-1087
totalsenior.com

Websites

Nursing Home Compare
medicare.gov/NHCompare/Home

CalQualityCare
calqualitycare.org