We all receive brochures
in the mail from time to time. I receive way too many - to the
point that most of them end up in the trash without giving them
a second glance. Why would I do this, I mean, after all, is
what I am throwing away valuable, unbiased information? Unfortunately
not. One of the reason we all cringe at the overstuffing of
our mailboxes is that the endless brochures and mailings that
end up in there will undoubtedly be from companies trying to
put their best foot forward, using our mailboxes as an entryway
into our consciousness, and eventually, if all goes well for
them - into our checkbooks.
facilities are no exception, as this industry produces some
of the most beautiful and most attractive brochures and advertisements
and advertisements for assisted living facilities can serve
a purpose. If you are in the exact market for what's being sold
- chances are your attention will be won. However, any brochure,
mailing or advertisement should be taken as it is - an attempt
to win your business - and should be a first step in your journey
to collect your own, unbiased information and research. We live
in a digital age, where outside expert opinions, user reviews,
and health and safety records can all be found within a few
minutes. To rely solely on materials supplied by the company
in question will surely invite problems. Doing your own digging
and research will most certainly uncover facts and information
that you might not have known about a facility - facts and information
that they may not want you to know. As they say, "The Devil
Is In The Details" - so asking the right questions, doing
your own research, and leaving no detail overlooked will arm
you with much of the necessary information to make a reasonable
and educated decision for yourself, or your loved one.
Let's say that you receive
a brochure in the mail from an assisted living facility that
looks perfect for you or your loved one. This brochure claims
that the facility is in the right location, that the staff is
friendly and competent, and that the food is superb. It claims
to offer many amenities that you find attractive.
best thing you can do at this point is to take your brochure,
and start digging! There are a number of great
ways to research a facility and we'll offer a few ways that
you can do it from the comfort of your own home and computer.
Simply "google' the facility name. If you 'google' a facility
name (type the facility name into a search engine), take a look
at the top 10-20 results (if there are that many) that have
the facility name in the result. Often times, people will blog
about facilities, or you may find news articles related to the
facility. This is a great, simple way to find varied sources
of information about a facility.
"Yelp" the facility. Yelp is a very popular and growing
review site that lists user reviews on just about any type of
business you can imagine. Go to www.yelp.com
and in the box that says "Search For," type in the
name of the facility. In the box that says 'Near,' simply type
in the city where the facility is located. Often times, you
will find several reviews from either residents, or family members
about the facility in question.
If you are interested in a particular facility, ask to see the
"contract" even if you don't know if you will be signing
it or not. As mentioned above "The Devil Is In The Details."
Learning what you will be contractually obligated to before
signing on the dotted line is important, but asking for the
contract and giving yourself a few days or weeks to look at
it thoroughly, without being pressured will allow you to 'digest'
the details. This will also help you to come up with some good
questions for the facility administrators.
Type in the facility name + "reviews" into a search
engine. We previously suggested 'googling' the name of the facility.
Another strategy is to enter the name of the facility in to
google, yahoo, or msn, and then add the word "review"
or "reviews" with your search. Many times this will
bring up specific sites that contain reviews of the facility
News Alerts - I do news alerts for the assisted living market.
This delivers daily links to any news articles pertaining to
the assisted living market - right to my inbox. Often times,
unfortunately, the news articles are about problems at assisted
living facilities that have gotten them in the news. You can
even sign up for news alerts specific to a particular facility.
Just go to www.google.com/alerts
to sign up.
the facility the tough questions: Facilities should be honest
with you if asked about any health, sanitation, or safety violations.
If you feel that you are not getting the answers you need from
a facility, you can try calling the department of health, or
perhaps the state's assisted living association (if there is
one) to find out more about a facility's track record.
Ask the facility if you can join their residents for one of
their mealtimes. This might present a great opportunity for
you to ask the current residents about the facility, the care
they receive, the quality of the meals, and the overall mood
at the facility. By simply observing the facility in action,
you may have some of your questions or concerns answered.
We have offered just
a few ways that you might find out more about a facility. Relying
only on the materials and testimonials provided by the facility
could lead to many unforeseen problems and headaches - and could
potentially bring harm to you or your loved one (if a facility
has a record of abuse, and you weren't aware of it, for example...).
Doing your own homework is essential to obtaining a more accurate
and well rounded picture of any facility.
We invite any suggestions
or stories from anyone who has researched an assisted living
facility, and the tools or methods used.
- by the staff at
Assisted Living Directory