First impressions count
Often your gut instinct is right. Research by neuroscientists has shown that your brain often makes decisions up to 10 seconds before we even realise it, which is where gut-decision making comes from. When you arrive at the care facility, do you feel welcome straight away? Do the staff look engaged and friendly? Are the residents happy and comfortable? Is the place clean, and does it smell fresh? Make a note of these small elements, as these first impressions will tell you a lot.
Location and proximity to family
Staying connected to your loved ones is incredibly important for mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that moving more than 40mins away from loved ones can create challenges if you enjoy regular family visits. Also consider services and proximity to medical facilities in the surrounding suburbs.
While all government funded facilities must meet a certain standard of care, there can be a difference in whether the centre simply meets or exceeds these standards. To discover the accreditation status of a particular home, you can visit agedcarequality.com.au or ask the provider for their current accreditation status. This will give you more information on how they perform in areas including management, staffing, living environment, safety and security, cleanliness, catering, resident lifestyle, health and personal care, as well as continuous improvement.
In addition, each facility is ranked against eight quality standards set out by the government to help you and your family make informed decisions about care. All government funded and home care services must be able to provide evidence of this compliance and performance against the Quality Standards for prospective residents.
Food & Catering
Food is more than just nutrition; it can make a huge difference in your standard of living. It is important to find out information such as:
- Are the meals prepared on site, or are they delivered by a catering company?
- How often do menus change?
- How are different dietary requirements and allergies catered for?
- On special occasions (Christmas, Religious Holidays, Birthdays etc) are alternative menus available?
- Are meals flexible at different times of day?
- Can you bring in food from outside?
If the meals are prepared on-site, a visit to the kitchen is also highly recommended to discover the freshness of ingredients and how the food is prepared.
Standard of accommodation
The standard of the room in a centre is vital as this will become your new home. Looking at the in-room facilities such as size of the ensuite, private phone, internet, heating and air, TV, kitchenette, etc is important, but so is the cleanliness and freshness of the room. Talk to the Centre Manager and find out if you are able to give the room a fresh coat of paint, hang up photos or artwork, or bring in personal items and furnishings to make the transition into care easier.
What are the staff and residents like?
While moving into residential aged care is usually due to change-in-life circumstances, it is still important to take some time to talk to the staff and residents at the facility you are considering.
- What are their experiences like?
- Do they feel respected and valued?
- Do they feel part of a community?
- Are family encouraged to visit and participate in care?
- What communication is there between staff and families?
- Are there staff who specialise in any medical condition you may have?
What is daily life like?
Many people want to know what daily life will be like in a care facility. One of the biggest changes is moving from a home that is just you and your partner, to a shared living residence. While you will have your own private room, many of the other areas such as libraries, dining rooms or entertainment areas will be shared with others.
Other social aspects include outings and organised activities. Talk to the Care Manager to discover what the social calendar is like for residents and how you can participate in regular activities you enjoy, such as church, cooking, cards, or regular exercise. You may also need to adjust your daily routine, for example bathing and eating. Ask staff what flexibility there is so you can maintain a routine that suits your medical and personal needs.
What access is there to specialists and professionals?
While the majority of care facilities will have on-site nursing and medical staff, you will need access to other specialists and professionals from time-to-time. Many people have preferred GPs and specialists they wish to continue to see, so it is important to discover if the facility organises dentists, physios, doctors, and other specialists to visit, or if this is organised privately.
Many residential aged care centres also have access to occupational therapists, dietitians, exercise physiologists, counsellors and allied health professionals. Ask if these services are included in the care program or if they are available at an extra cost.
Affordability & Fees
Another factor to consider when selecting a residential aged care facility is your budget. The cost of living in an aged care facility is generally higher than independent living as the one-on-one care and medical services provided is greater. Be sure to consider all of your options before deciding.
Change in circumstances
As you become older, or if your health changes, the level of care you require may change. In most centres, there are three main types of care: low level, high level, and palliative.
- Low level care is for people who only need help with day-to-day activities such as dressing, showering, and eating.
- High level care is for people who can no longer live independently and need 24-hour nursing care.
- Palliative care is for people who have a terminal illness and need comfort and support.
In addition to these levels, you may also need specialist care for dementia, memory support or other medical conditions. Talk to staff to find out how you can transition from one level of care to another, if required, and the costs involved. In addition, you will need to find out how medical emergencies are handled.
Keeping all of these factors in mind when making your decision can feel overwhelming so remember that the staff at Kalyra are here to help you choose the best possible option for your personal situation.
If you have any further questions on Residential Aged Care, or you wish to join the waitlist for our properties, contact the staff at Kalyra today. Our email address is email@example.com or phone (08) 8278 0300