Finding the Right Home: Some Guidelines
The decision to move to an Old Age Home (OAH) is never an easy one. For many it is often one of the last major decisions taken in one’s life. That is perhaps what makes it so vital. With different options available today, particularly in the bigger cities and towns, it is important to make a well considered and informed selection. What are the critical questions one should ask?
The questions in the checklist that follows should be used as a guide to some of the things you might want to consider or ask the manager of a home. In addition, you should visit the home to assess these issues. The list of questions is not exhaustive and you may consider other questions that will be relevant to your circumstances. Furthermore, it is also important to spend some time thinking about your current and likely future requirements before you start looking for a suitable Home.
First Impressions (After Visit)
- Is the atmosphere friendly, safe and comfortable?
- Are all are as well lit? Is the temperature inside comfortable for the residents?
- Are there other people with similar needs to yours?
- Do the staff seem trained for elder care, and are they caring and attentive?
- Are residents treated with respect as well as in a friendly manner?
- Do any individual residents seem to be unstable or be causing disruptions?
- Can one or more of the staff speak you language?
- Are there enough staff?
- Do the residents seem happy with the way staff communicates with them?
- Is there transport provided or within easy access?
- Will it be easy to see your family and friends?
- Is there easy entry and exit from the premises (level ground, etc.)?
- Is it easy to get to local shops, a club, temple, dispensary, hospital, church or other places/events that you may want to go?
- If the facility has more than one floor, is it easy to navigate?
- Is the building security appropriate for the suburb and location?
- Is there easy wheelchair access, including the garden/s?
- Are there call-buttons in the bedrooms, bathrooms and common areas?
- Is there smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?
Nature of Accommodation
- Can you have your own bedroom?
- Can you meet the other person to see that you get on before you share a room?
- Is there provision for married couples and singles?
- Is there secure storage?
- Is there air conditioning or can you have it installed?
- Do the rooms have an attached bathroom and toilet?
- How are shared rooms screened for privacy?
- Can you bring your own furniture and belongings?
- Can you have a TV and telephone in your room?
- Are toilets near all communal rooms?
- Are toilets, baths and showers aged friendly and private?
- Have you seen the “old age home operational manual” about visitors, smoking, etc.?
- Will a member of staff be assigned to your welfare?
- What qualifications and training do the staffs have?
- Can you get up and go to bed when you choose?
- Can you help around the nursing home or hostel if you want to ?
- Is there a mail service?
- Do the residents have a say in the development and enforcement of the rules?
- Are night staff awake or on call?
- Is the home certified/accredited?
- Will your room be cleaned at least weekly?
- Are daily papers delivered?
- Is it possible to buy small items such as gifts and stamps?