/San Diego County

3 Assisted Living Facility Red Flags


Realizing that an aging loved one needs care that you are unable to provide for them can be a difficult place to be. What is harder still is to find a trusted and safe living situation that meets all of their needs and your standards. The best way to go about this is partnering with a care giving agency. They know the best (and worst) local facilities, are familiar with price points,  have great working relationships with the best facilities, and can help you navigate the waters in this uncertain time. Whether you are touring a facility on your own or with a caregiving agency representative, here are a few warning signs to look out for.


1. Staff seems frantic and/or inadequate.  Granted, there are always times in a medical facility where things can be a little busy or there seems to be a lot going on. However, if you notice phones ringing constantly and not being answered, call lights not being turned off or attended to, or a general feeling that there just aren’t enough hands and feet on the floor, you may want to head for the door. There really is no substitution for compassionate and patient care from the hands of another person. If the staff seems stressed out or unhappy, the chances are that is exactly the kind of care your loved one will be receiving. 



2. Unanswered questions/uninformed staff. Of course not every person will have every answer to every question that you ask, and you need to make sure you are asking appropriate questions to the correct staff members. For example, asking the kitchen staff about billing and recreational outings might not be the best choice. If the front desk associate or manager cannot answer those questions, however, then you need to ask yourself why. The staff should care enough about their jobs and the people they care for to answer simple questions about care and procedures. If someone doesn’t know the answer, their response should be that they will find out right away and get back to you. 



3. Observe the current guests.  As you tour, you will most likely encounter several guests already living at the facility. You may witness them during a meal, a social event, sitting outside, or chatting in the hallways. Take note of their cleanliness, appearance, happiness, and general well being. Watch how the staff interacts (or doesn’t interact) with the people. Ask yourself if you can picture your loved one in this place, interacting with these people. 


4. A bad feeling.  We were given an intuition for a reason, and more often than not it helps to keep us out of trouble. If you tour a facility and there are no glaring red flags, but you just can’t put your finger on what’s bothering you, then continue to look for another place. Always remember to be kind and thank the person who gave you the tour. 


By taking the time to research facilities you are investing into the future of not only your loved one but yourself as well. When you come to visit, you want to be in a clean and happy environment and to be assured that your loved one is being taken care of in the best way possible. 


If you need assistance in choosing a facility, click here. 


If you are unsure whether or not your loved one needs assistance, read this helpful article here. 



These statements have not been evaluated by a medical professional. If you have questions concerning your health or the health of a loved one, always consult a doctor. 

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