When We Can’t Help

Owner David Hachmeister

By David Hachmeister, Owner, Care & Comfort at Home for Seniors and Veterans

No one solution is perfect for every situation — and that even includes the solutions we at Care & Comfort at Home provide.

But often, there needs to be some solutions. Problems can be ignored for much too long. For example, too many people call us right after their loved one falls — sometimes after they’ve had many falls.

Sometimes, in-home care isn’t the solution. Sometimes, the tough call to move a loved one out of a long-time home becomes necessary.

If you decide that residential care is the right care for your loved one, whether that be assisted, nursing, or memory care, we have some suggestions on what to do when looking for a senior care facility.

  1. Ignore the big chandelier in the front. How “fancy” a facility is says nothing about the quality and level of care.
  2. Pay attention to your olfactory sense. The best smell is almost none at all. Accidents happen, so don’t dismiss a place because of one nasty smell. However, if you smell too much anti-septic products or too many odd odors, know that these are not good signs.
  3. Look at its cleanliness. Again, no place is perfect, but this is to be a home, not a garbage dump.
  4. Watch staff interactions. Do caregivers and other staff members look like they enjoy helping people? Are they engaging the residents? Or, do they appear to be indifferent?
  5. Ask how long caregivers have been on staff.  Too many places we see look great on the surface, yet seem to be constantly hiring new personnel and replacing staff members. It can be true that good help is hard to find, but a coordinated team requires time to develop. So does good relationships between seniors and their caregivers. Frequent turnover of staff members prevents that development.
  6. Try to visit the facility when food is being served. How does it look and smell? How is it served? How are the residents aided during meal time? It is tough for many seniors to have any appetite at all, so the food should be appetizing enough to keep your loved one interested in eating, to stay healthy.
  7. Call friends and family to see if they or someone they know has had any experience with a community. Caveat: Beware the small sample size of the people you might survey.
  8. Look at online reviews. Toss out the super extremes. Years ago, one of our caregivers gave us a one-star review after she was fired for theft.  Similarly, it’s rare for any company to be perfect. Look past just the star ratings and read the written testimonials, to get a good idea of the communities’ attributes, strengths, and shortcomings.

Finally, if you have done your due diligence, have confidence in your decision. Sometimes, in-home care just isn’t possible, and moving to a community is the best solution. Nevertheless, keep your awareness levels high. Staff and ownership might change, and the situation could shift.

We have no direct affiliation with any community and are an independently owned company, so we can give a relatively unbiased opinion. Give us a call. We can help! If you’re in the Chicagoland area, we can be reached at 630-333-9262.