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Choosing an Assisted Living Facility in California that Prioritizes Health and Vitality

The decision to move your elderly loved one to a nursing home is usually a hard one to make, but it can be easier if you know that the facility will look after their wants and needs.

Finding the right assisted living facility takes some time and effort, but it’s certainly possible to be confident that you’ve made the best possible choice.

Of course, it helps if you have quite a few assisted living facilities to choose from.

Small towns or rural areas will have limited options, but you’d have plenty of choices with San Diego assisted living facilities. The more choices you have, the more effectively you’ll be able to narrow down your list until the top contender becomes clear. 

Mental health in assisted living facilities

The sad truth is that many assisted living facilities in California only do the bare minimum.

Rather than actively striving to promote mental and physical vitality in residents, they only work to provide the essentials – meals, basic assistance with daily tasks, help with medication, etc.

However, elderly people need far more than that in order to lead happy, healthy lives.

Their assisted living facility also has to focus on programs that provide opportunities for socialization, train staff to recognize symptoms of depression or anxiety, and more.

Statistics show that both depression and anxiety are major problems for nursing home residents in California. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, about 22% of them have an anxiety-related disorder, and just over 34% of them have depression.

Unfortunately, the average staff member at a nursing home simply isn’t trained to detect – much less address – these and similar disorders.

While plenty of nursing home residents already struggled with anxiety or depression before moving to the facility, many others developed these conditions because of the drastic change in quality of life.

Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and neglect can seriously impact someone’s mental health, which is why it’s so important to choose an assisted living facility that actively promotes their residents’ mental well-being.

Tips for choosing an assisted living facility

For many, the search for the best assisted living facility starts by gathering information from the facilities themselves.

However, you can’t always depend on what the brochures say.

Even the worst nursing homes will tell potential residents and their families that the facility is practically heaven on earth, when the reality is that the staff are rude, the meals are terrible, and there’s usually a bad smell lurking in the hallways.

Then there are the facilities that truly go above and beyond, providing an enriching experience for each resident that encompasses their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

How can you separate the good from the bad, though? Here are a few tips to do just that.

Establish your loved one’s priorities

It should be a given that your loved one deserves to live in a pleasant, well-kept facility with qualified and caring staff.

However, many assisted living facilities offer far more than this. If you have specific needs or preferences for what the nursing home should offer, those can provide some guidance for your search.

Some examples of these preferences are:

  • Special care units for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Religious or spiritual services
  • Access to physical therapy
  • Top-notch meals
  • Proximity to family or friends
  • Staff members who are trained to care for residents’ mental as well as physical health

Visit the assisted living facility – more than once!

On your first visit, it’s typical to schedule a meeting with the director and/or nursing director to get a tour of the facility.

They’ll describe daily routines, staff qualifications, and other highlights. If you have questions, they’ll be available to provide answers. Since this visit is scheduled, it’s pretty much a given that everything will be at its best.

However, you don’t need a scheduled appointment to simply show up at the facility – and this is recommended if you want to get a second look.

You could even show up around mealtime to see what the food actually looks like, or ask for another tour from a staff member. If you’re hoping to get less scripted answers, you’ll be more likely to get them during this second visit.

Ask the right questions

Most people have a list of questions already prepared to ask during their initial visit.

It’s pretty standard to ask about entertainment-type activities, access to emergency medical services, training provided to staff, etc. However, you might also want to ask other questions.

For example, try asking how long key staff members have been there. If all of them joined in the last year or so, that could indicate problematically high turnover rates.

Another good question to ask is regarding strong smells. Bad odors are an obvious issue, but good odors could just be there to mask problems as well. Be curious about anything that stands out – you never know what you’ll discover!

Do your research

Ask around for recommendations, whether they’re from relatives, friends, religious groups, or social workers. If you hear one or two names come up several times, that’s a good sign. 

It’s also a good idea to look at online reviews.

These may not be available for every assisted living facility in the area, but they could still be a great way to learn the truth about some of the ones you’re considering. People tend to be very open about things they dislike when writing online reviews.

If you keep reading the same complaints over and over again, that’s your sign to continue your search elsewhere.

On the other hand, family members tend to notice when their loved ones flourish in an assisted living facility, and this will also be reflected in online reviews.

The takeaway

Whether you’re looking at studies, or just using common sense, the connection between mental and physical health is clear.

If you want your loved one to experience happiness and vitality after moving to an assisted living facility, make sure you find one that prioritizes both their physical and mental health.

The editorial staff of Medical News Bulletin had no role in the preparation of this post. The views and opinions expressed in this sponsored post are those of the advertiser and do not reflect those of Medical News Bulletin. Any Web sites linked from Medical News Bulletin site are created by organizations outside of Medical News Bulletin and are the sole responsibility of those organizations. These links are strictly provided by Medical News Bulletin as a convenience to you for additional information only. Medical News Bulletin does not approve or endorse the content on any third-party Web sites and is not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites or third-party advertisements, as well as does not make any representations regarding their content or accuracy. Your use of third-party web sites is at your own risk and subject to the terms and conditions of use as per such sites policies. Medical News Bulletin does not provide specific medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and hereby disclaims any assumption of any of the obligations, claims or liabilities..



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