Once you have shortlisted your favourite aged care facilities with an Aged Care Decisions’ placement specialist, it’s time to pick the right one for you. Online research and reviews can help you narrow down the search, but an aged care facility tour gives you firsthand insight into which homes suit your specific needs. A tour is an opportunity to learn as much as possible about an aged care home before you choose, so it’s important to be prepared. Here are some things to look out for during your aged care facility tour.
Preparation and arrival at your aged care facility tour
Before you attend a tour, you need to do three things:
- Understand your own needs and preferences and write them down.
- Book your tour at a time of day which allows you to see a sample of the daily activities.
- Prepare a list of questions you would like to ask and things that you are going to look for such as the quality of the amenities.
- Ensure you arrive early so you are not under any stress or pressure
List your needs and preferences
This is crucial to finding the best home for you. Unless you make time to consider your needs and make a list, you may not realise something is important to you until you have already moved in. Preparing this now will ensure you know exactly what you are looking for on the tour and give you the best chance of finding the right aged care facility for you.
Book at the right time
One element that changes between different facilities is the activities they offer. So, it’s a good idea to book your tour at a time when activities are planned. This allows you to see for yourself what life will be like in your new home. Activities are usually run between 10:30 and 12:30.
Prepare a list of questions
- How long the manager, registered nurses, care manager, and carers have been working at the facility.
- Ask about the ratio of residents to staff on AM shift, PM shift and overnight.
- How often does the facility use agency staff – for example, how many agency staff have been used in the past week?
- Check out the activities calendar
- Ask how often the menu is changed.
- Request to see both public areas and an example of the room the potential resident will be staying in.
If you arrive on time, everyone will be expecting you and will want to impress. Arriving 15 minutes early will give you the opportunity to see how staff interact with one another and with residents in a more natural setting. It’s important to find an aged care home where people are friendly, positive and smiling. Arriving early also avoids you feeling under pressure.
The team at Aged Care Decisions can help you compare facilities and create a shortlist of potential aged care facilities to tour. Simply complete our online form or call 1300 775 870.
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Building and amenities
Once you arrive at the aged care facility for your tour, you should check these elements:
- safety and security
- cleanliness and homeliness
- accessibility and signage
- type of room you would be staying in.
Safety and Security
The safety of all residents and staff is paramount at an aged care facility. The front door should be security coded and, for residents with dementia, there may be additional secure areas to avoid them wandering.
You can ask about the process for visitors and about the facility’s COVIDsafe plan. That way, you will be fully informed before making a decision on which aged care facility is right for you.
Cleanliness and homeliness
Elderly people are often more at risk of infections, so facilities should be cleaned professionally. Look out for any disorganised or messy areas and take note of the cleaning standards throughout the building and amenities.
It’s also important that your chosen facility feels homey. Can you see any personalisation as you tour the aged care facility? Does it feel homey to you?
Accessibility and signage
You should be able to find your way around easily by following clear signage, and all areas with resident access should be easily accessible, especially for seniors with mobility issues. Dementia-specific aged care facilities should have clear, coloured signage that makes it easy for anyone with dementia to find their way around without getting lost.
It’s important to view the type of room you would be staying in to ensure it suits your needs. Check that it has natural lighting and sufficient storage for your belongings. Look for things such as the amount of natural light, or a view or direct access to a garden if this is important to you.
Once you are satisfied that you have checked your potential room, ask to see a room where a resident is currently staying. This way, you can check that the room is clean, pleasant smelling and looked after. You might even be able to have a quick chat with the resident.
Finally, you should check the noise levels around the aged care facility but, particularly, in the rooms. You want to ensure you won’t be constantly disrupted by noise and activity in the kitchen and laundry.
The activities at a facility will be your best opportunity to stay active and socialise, so you need to make sure they include things you are interested in and will enjoy. First, check the activity calendar and then check to see if any activities are being run during your tour. If they are, take time to watch and take note of whether residents are enjoying themselves and interacting with one another.
At Aged Care Decisions, we work with over 800 aged care facilities and can provide you with information on each. Simply contact us through our simple online form or call 1300 775 870 and speak to one of our Aged Care Decisions specialists.
Meals and Menu
When choosing your preferred aged care facility, it’s crucial that it offers quality, enjoyable meals. During your tour, ask to see the menu and request a meal to try. This will let you gauge whether the meals are to your taste, are of good quality and match the menu.
Meals cooked on site are often tastier than those brought in from somewhere else. Check with your tour facilitator about where the meals are made.
Good staff are an integral part of a quality aged care facility. You can gauge the quality of the staff by noticing whether they:
- knock before entering a resident’s room
- know the residents by name
- seem to know the unique care needs and preferences of each resident in their care
- have a friendly and positive demeanor
- take the time to attend to their residents
Facility manager and resident Q & A
An aged care facility tour gives you the opportunity to ask the facility manager and the residents questions. It’s important to prepare these ahead of time so that you can maximise your time with each. Here are some examples of the questions you might ask the facility manager:
- What proportion of respite stay residents turn into permanent residents?
- Is the physiotherapist on site full-time or on an as-needs basis?
- Are there any personalised activities offered?
A resident can tell you about their likes and dislikes of the aged care facility, which will give you further insight into what life is like at the facility. When meeting with a resident, take note of whether they appear well cared for. Are they clean and groomed? Do they appear happy and satisfied?
Our handy tour checklist includes a list of potential questions for your Q & A session. It also includes a star rating system so you can easily compare the aged care facilities that you have toured.
How to organise a tour
Aged Care Decisions offer a free service to ensure you have support throughout your aged care journey. We help you find quality aged care facilities in your area based on your specific care needs, so you can choose which ones you would like to tour. We can even book tours for you and help you prepare to make the most out of your tour. Call us on 1300 775 870 or get in touch through our easy online form.