How to Choose the Right Long-Term Care: 9 Key Features to Consider

“Today, the combination of Americans living longer and the rapid growth in the size of our older population has resulted in an increasing number of families seeking long-term care for aging loved ones who require around-the-clock care for their safety and well-being,” says Collin Tierney, Executive Director and Administrator of Bryn Mawr Terrace in Bryn Mawr, PA. 

“Choosing long-term care for a loved one with constant healthcare needs can be difficult emotionally, even while it is in their best interests. And choosing a long-term care community that best fits their needs can sometimes be a challenge,” says Tierney.

“Making the right choice is extremely important because it can make or break your loved one’s sense of comfort and satisfaction with their new living environment. Also, choosing the right long-term care community can provide you and your family with much needed peace of mind in knowing that your loved one is well taken care of in pleasant, caring surroundings,” he adds.

What to Look for in Choosing the Right Long-Term Care for Your Loved One

Fortunately, making the correct choice is made easier by independent sources that provide advice and checklists to make selecting the best long-term care community less confusing. Experts strongly recommend touring the communities you are considering before you choose. By doing so, you’ll be able to evaluate the options firsthand and gain a better sense of the physical environment, the people and the culture – as well as the quality of care for the residents.

As one example, The Mayo Clinic® article, “Long-term care: Early planning pays off,” offers useful guidance for choosing the long-term care community that best suits your needs. For example: 

  1. Do the services match your needs? Narrow down your long-term care choices by finding communities that can meet your loved one’s care requirements. Does your loved one need assistance with daily living tasks, skilled nursing care or memory care? Choose one that offers the right mix of services. 
  2. Is it convenient for visits? Is it within easy driving distance? Being close to friends and family can ease your loved one’s transition to long-term care and ease your concerns.
  3. Quality of care – Does the community have a medical director and a board-certified physician specializing in physical and medical rehabilitation? Do they provide 24/7 nursing care and supervision, which includes pain management, medication and wound care services? Also, are nursing assistants available to help with dressing, grooming, personal hygiene and bathing for long-term care residents? These factors are extremely important when choosing a long-term care provider.
  4. Is it licensed and reputable?  If a facility receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, it is inspected periodically by a state surveyor. How well did the community do in its state survey? If it had any deficiencies, have they been rectified? Also, what is its reputation in the area?
  5. Are life-enrichment activities emphasized? Ask about the types of activities offered to long-term care residents. An effective activity department will interview residents about their personal interests and preferences and offer recreational options such as music, painting, pet therapy, games and community outings. Are worship services available?
  6. Food and snacks – Three meals as well as snacks should be provided daily to skilled nursing and long-term care residents. Is the food tasteful and nutritious? Are accommodations made for dietary restrictions and preferences?  Does a dietitian meet individually with each resident to customize a nutritional plan, which focuses on their personal tastes and needs? It is a good idea to visit during mealtime to visit the dining areas and have a meal there.
  7. Is the environment homelike? In choosing a long-term care provider, you should look at private rooms and determine whether personal belongings and furnishings may be brought to the facility to make the resident's room appear more like home. Also, are there inviting places, such as recreation areas, lounges and outdoor patios where residents can gather to participate in activities, enjoy one another’s company, and be a part of the community?
  8. Is memory care needed? These days, memory care is an increasingly important factor in choosing long-term care. Is there a safe, separate unit for residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia? Are staff members specially trained to care for someone with dementia? Is there ongoing staff training about dementia? If you need memory care, the Alzheimer’s Association® offers a useful checklist for community visits.
  9. Understand the cost structure – Before choosing a provider review the details on prices, fees and services. Know what's included in the monthly fee and what costs extra.

Collin adds, “Following this expert advice can help you choose the long-term care community that fits your loved one’s needs the best and ensures their comfort and well-being.”

Rated Best in Senior Care 

Bryn Mawr Terrace is more than a leading senior living community; it is a warm, friendly place that older adults can proudly call home. We invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior topics, and welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been named the “Best of the Main Line” for 2017.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog on choosing the right long-term care community, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness 

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living, personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at (610) 525-8300 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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