When you are selecting amenities and services for your assisted living facility, you need to consider many of the challenges that family members face when choosing a facility. By creating a facility that feels like a community, you can offer the ideal combination of services that will appeal to new residents and their families.
Incorporate Mental Health Services
There are many ways that you can include mental health services at your facility, whether you have a counselor that is a full-time member of your staff or you choose to have a mental health professional who acts as a consultant when needed. A major concern when new residents make the transition from independent living to an assisted living facility is the difficulty when trying to cope with changes in independence.
Even if your facility is designed to provide residents with a similar level of freedom as living independently, the adjustment can be difficult for residents and it is not uncommon for the transition to cause depression. You should offer services that proactively reduce and treat depression in new and current residents. Since the onset of depression can cause declines in health and functioning, you want to assure family members that your facility has ways of identifying depression in residents.
One way to integrate mental health services is for all your residents to speak with a mentor when they move in and at regular intervals. The obvious presence of a mental health professional can be intimidating for some people. By having mentors with a background in counseling at your facility, your residents are more likely to feel comfortable talking about concerns without feeling judged if they have problems. You can identify any residents who may benefit from treatment for depression, such as on-site support groups.
Technology has many advantages in assisted living facilities, whether for communication with friends and family, or as a way for residents to interact with one another. You should have computers or tablets available for residents to use. If you have any residents who are apprehensive about the use of technology, have employees or other residents available to assist any residents with the use of different programs and encourage residents who seem disinterested in using technology.
Another way to integrate technology is the use of video games. Since many video game systems allow for multiple players, this can help break new residents out of their shell and mingle with others. Furthermore, video game systems that require physical interaction with the game system can be therapeutic.
You may have residents with limited mobility or cognitive impairments due to a stroke or dementia. Video games based on familiar activities, such as interactive sports, will appeal to many residents, while keeping them mentally and physically active. Since most games do not require significant physical input, residents who need to sit, use a wheelchair or have limited range of motion can participate in virtual activities.
Build A Sense Of Community
If your facility lacks ways for residents, and their friends and family, to interact on a regular basis, this can be an area of concern for prospective residents. A new environment combined with unfamiliar people can make the transition to an assisted living facility more stressful. Scheduled social activities can give all residents a variety of activities to look forward to each week, while encouraging socialization.
You should schedule specific days each week for activities such as movie night, shopping trips or special dinners that allow friends and family to meet some of the other residents. When possible you should find ways to include loved ones in other activities. By encouraging different types of social interaction, your facility more closely resembles a community or neighborhood, which is more appealing to residents.
When you are considering various services for your assisted living senior care facility, think of ways to make new residents feel less like they are leaving behind their independence and more like they are moving to a new community. The more services you offer that can lessen anxiety for new residents and their loved ones, the more likely your facility will be at the top of their list.