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Reviews of specific facilities. (Memory care and assisted living)
Deborah L.
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 12:06 PM
Joined: 11/11/2019
Posts: 8


Hi all! I'm a newbie here. My mom and dad are have been in assisted living for several years. She takes care of dad (he has demential) when she can (she's got medical issues too.) We have discovered that the facility they are in has a lot of problems. We would like to consider moving them to a better facility, in terms of both care and kindness of care.

I am seeking a thread/website where I can read reviews and discussion of specific Assisted Living facilities and Memory Care units written by actual residents and actual adult children of residents. All I've found online thus far are companies promoting various facilities under the guise of "reviews." 

Is there a thread that I haven't seen yet on AlzConnected where folks talk about specific facilities and their pro's and con's? If so, I would be so grateful if you could point me there.

Or if not, do you all think I should I start one? Would there be interest?

Thank you and I'm so grateful for this website and all your posts!


TessC
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 12:54 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4973


Welcome. Of course anyone can start a topic so you are welcome to do so, but with the fact that we all live in different places, it is unlikely you will find people who have the info you want for your exact location.

 When I was looking at facilities, I visited each one and even ate there. I also made another visit to talk to as many of the care team and admin that I could. I asked if they had a resident or family council and asked if I could talk to a representative. I had to do a lot of legwork and even  asked people around in the community-for example, doctors, nurses, the hospital's social worker, and I called the local Alz Assoc member for help, etc. Good luck!


mostlyme
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 1:29 PM
Joined: 12/17/2018
Posts: 269


TessC wrote:

 When I was looking at facilities, I visited each one and even ate there. I also made another visit to talk to as many of the care team and admin that I could. I asked if they had a resident or family council and asked if I could talk to a representative. I had to do a lot of legwork and even  asked people around in the community-for example, doctors, nurses, the hospital's social worker, and I called the local Alz Assoc member for help, etc. Good luck!

I couldn't have said it better.  I did all of those things too... minus the eating there.   But that's a good idea!
Talk to anyone you know.  I got the most info from my acupuncturist as so many people tell her their stories when she's pinning them up!  She told me things about what she heard that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else.  
I also asked the facility to clearly tell me what a day will look like for Mom.  I asked questions such as 'what will you do if she's anxious because she has nothing to do?'  I not only listened to the answer they gave but with the ease with which they gave it.  ie.  Are they just giving me a pat answer or is this something that they engage in daily?

Rec was very important to me so I made sure to talk to the rec manager and let them know how important activity is to Mom.  I made sure to get the rec calendars from each place as well.

Once I had all of the info, I sat with it.  I circled everything on the rec calendar that would apply to Mom and then I imagined her day in each place to get a sense of what it would feel like.  

I really liked this one place but I kept getting a not so good feeling when I imagined Mom living there.  Weird.  I went back to visit again and I made sure that they showed me the actual floor Mom would be living on (they tend to show the 'ideal floor').  The feeling didn't go away.  I went with my gut and it paid off.  

You really need to be an advocate when placing your loved one.  I was a broken record telling the place I chose that I would not accept the non-verbal neighborhood.  They tried to convince me that it didn't matter, Mom would still go to the activities.  I held my ground.  She was placed (after several months wait) in the 'ideal' neighborhood - partly, I think, because I was already forming relationships with the staff from being so involved.  Once she was placed, the lady telling me that it didn't make a difference, quietly whispered to me that Mom got the best neighborhood.  (I knew that!).

Do visit the place you choose more than once and at different times of the day so you can meet staff and feel it out.  I really liked the vibe of the place she's in, they were so accommodating and friendly each time I visited.  I continue to like it more than 6 months later.

Best of luck!


jfkoc
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 1:30 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17569


I can tell you that two of the highest praised facilities are about 30-35 minutes from you.

https://www.thehearth.org/

I would at least look at these two as a reference to what you want a facility to be.


Rescue mom
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 2:10 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 1159


You’ve already gotten good general advice. I can’t apeak to specific facilities in your area, but do be sure and visit—and try hard to talk to residents and family members apart from those the admin or sales staff sets you up with.  Maybe catch some in the parking lot, or coming and going in the halls. The people you get set up with are almost guaranteed to sing praises—and the place is probably deserving, and it still can be fabulous. Just that some worry about “offending” management.

I think this goes to your question about websites etc. that have residents or families “review” facilities. IME, residents and families really do not want to “offend” the staff or managers. And there may well be nothing but good to be said anywhere by anyone. Just something to consider in your search. 

At the same time, no place is perfect. There will always be somebody complaining about something (I know that sound opposite of what I said earlier, but YKWIM), and there are likely valid things that can be better. Just get all the info you can, trust your gut, and don’t be fooled by flowers and chandeliers.

Be SURE you see the unit/apartment floor plan amenities your LO will live in. Don’t be fooled by a “show room” if there are others that are different. It’s happened here before; the LO was shown a unit different from the one her LO would stay in, which she did not realize until arrival. Most places IME offer 2-3 “floor plans” ; just make sure that you get what you saw.


harshedbuzz
Posted: Monday, November 11, 2019 2:45 PM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 1849


The best local 4-1-1 came from fellow members of my IRL support group- they were aware of the good, the bad and the ugly. I still toured a dozen facilities.

It's possible a single unit might not be able to meet both their needs with memory care for dad and AL or personal care for mom. I would make sure to check out the SNF/rehab section of any facility that includes one as they may need to move there at some point for rehab after a hospitalization or because they needed a Medicaid funded bed.
MN Chickadee
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 10:24 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 901


I don't live in such a large metro area but also came up empty on such recommendations . There was nothing online, nothing on these boards, and your local chapter of the Alz Assoc can give you lists of places that may meet your needs but can't comment or have opinions on their quality.

I found local support groups had good info, since many others there had ewxperience. And ask around at your church, hair salon, clubs, anywhere you can. Dementia touches a lot of lives and usually people know stuff. I toured dozens of places. I ate there, talked to other families who were visiting, stopped in unannounced. I narrowed it down to a couple places. One was in a smaller community, sort of a suburb of our city, and asked a family member who lived there to ask around. He got nothing but good feedback. I got on the wait lists at my top 3 so we would have options. So you can see it took a variety of approaches to figure out which were worth looking at and then vetting them.

It may be worth starting a thread here with a title like "looking for memory care in Newton, MA" as there may be someone here with advice. Can't hurt. 


King Boo
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:48 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 3091


Nothing is going to replace your research and visits to see if it is a good fit for you LO.

Online reviews mean little; ditto the Medicare nursing home ratings, most of which are based upon self reported data.  Got the WORST care in the world from a 5 star nursing home; the best from a 3 star.


feudman
Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 10:03 AM
Joined: 6/5/2014
Posts: 1318


I concur with the advice given. Due diligence is time very well spent. Live support groups with members that have placed LO's also can give you "the inside scoop." And, as always, your local Alz Assn. & Agency on Aging can also advise.

A few months back, Michael E. posted a thread (I believe the title was "Worst Nursing Homes...") about Medicare's "Special Focus List*." This was a shocker for those in my region, because it contained the names of some of the most prestigious facilities. Well worth a look.

*Special Focus is Medicare's term for facilities that have shown repeated violations in routine investigations. Being put on this list subjects these properties to more frequent inspections to try to bring them into compliance. But...Medicare didn't have the staff to follow through, so this resulted in an additional list of Special Focus "candidates." If you read the full text, there is no difference between the two groups, except that the "candidates" aren't being inspected more often (even though they should be!).

Let me close by saying my family learned how costly not researching thoroughly can be...we knew we made a mistake within days, but all the others in our area were full and had waiting lists. It went downhill fast until we could get her out of there.


DSA38
Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 12:41 PM
Joined: 10/25/2019
Posts: 6


The advice given here regarding visiting places is great but not always possible. I would like to move within a year or two with my DH who has dementia/Alzheimer’s from Los Angeles to Massachusetts to be near our only son and his family. I will have to rely on others to do the visiting for us. I wonder how effective those groups that claim to do some research for you are.  Seniority.com is one such site.
MN Chickadee
Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 1:57 PM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 901


DSA38 The outfits that try to match you with a facility work on sort of a commission type structure. A Place for Mom is a popular one. They get paid by the facility you place at, and not all facilities contract with them. Which means you may overlook some places they don't work with, possibly good ones that don't need to pay to get customers this way.Your experience may vary.  I regretted even looking into APFM, as they called and emailed me incessantly for weeks after. They would not take no for an answer. 

In my opinion there isn't a substitute for you or a family member doing the research. Perhaps your son's family would be willing to do tours and evaluate places, and take video of the tours to give you an idea of what it's like. 


LicketyGlitz
Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 2:21 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 541


Hey Deborah,

Nothing beats all the advice you've gotten here about visiting facilities, so I'll just add that there is a website with consumer reviews of senior living facilities...

https://roandsteve.com/

Check the site to see if the facilities in your area have reviews from past and current consumers.


dw743
Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 10:33 PM
Joined: 11/13/2018
Posts: 114


I found a wealth of info by asking care givers who helped care for my DW before going into MC. Many of the caregivers have worked in nursing homes, and can give a quick ( do not use) list. 

  Had a church member who's  wife was in MC for two years. Went with him on a visit and just sat and watched from afar.  I watched the care the staff took with the feeding of residents, and was pleased. I went back a few weeks later and asked if I could see the MC unit. They took me right in and showed me around. It passed the "sniff" check. Did not want a planned time/date tour.

Bottom line, I'm very pleased with the choice.


Deborah L.
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:35 PM
Joined: 11/11/2019
Posts: 8


Thank you so much - this is all really great advice!
Deborah L.
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:37 PM
Joined: 11/11/2019
Posts: 8


Wow, great, thank you so much for pointing me in this direction!
Deborah L.
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:40 PM
Joined: 11/11/2019
Posts: 8


jfkoc wrote:

I can tell you that two of the highest praised facilities are about 30-35 minutes from you.

https://www.thehearth.org/

I would at least look at these two as a reference to what you want a facility to be.

Thank you so much for this link and information. I'm curious how you've heard about their services and why they're really good. Do you know any residents or family members of residents?


Deborah L.
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:42 PM
Joined: 11/11/2019
Posts: 8


LicketyGlitz wrote:

Hey Deborah,

Nothing beats all the advice you've gotten here about visiting facilities, so I'll just add that there is a website with consumer reviews of senior living facilities...

https://roandsteve.com/

Check the site to see if the facilities in your area have reviews from past and current consumers.


Super, thank you so much! I'll check it out


jfkoc
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:07 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17569


Deborah.....I know two people who have lived at the Hearth I am also familiar with John Zeisel who wrote https://www.amazon.com/Im-Still-Here-Philosophy-Alzheimers/dp/1583333762

My connection with him comes from a grade school friend Berna Huebner who is responsible for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Remember_Better_When_I_Paint.

 My connection with Abe's Garden is through Dr. Ronald Pfeiffer. 

I stand firmly by my suggestion to become familiar with these two facilities in order to know what a placement can be.

Let me know if I can answer any other questions.


Deborah L.
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 11:33 AM
Joined: 11/11/2019
Posts: 8


jfkoc wrote:

Deborah.....I know two people who have lived at the Hearth I am also familiar with John Zeisel who wrote https://www.amazon.com/Im-Still-Here-Philosophy-Alzheimers/dp/1583333762

My connection with him comes from a grade school friend Berna Huebner who is responsible for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Remember_Better_When_I_Paint.

 My connection with Abe's Garden is through Dr. Ronald Pfeiffer. 

I stand firmly by my suggestion to become familiar with these two facilities in order to know what a placement can be.

Let me know if I can answer any other questions.


Thank you so much for these 2 very helpful links! I'm going to share the info about the Hearth with my mom. They don't need MC yet, hence my desire to find a good place before they take  a turn for the worse.


BostonMeredith
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 12:01 PM
Joined: 9/5/2019
Posts: 1


Hello, I’m a newbie also!  And I need help. 

My mom is 83 and I moved her into assisted living about 6 weeks ago, as she could not manager her house anymore. I now do her finances, projects, etc. I am her POA. Anyway, my mom has been very stressed and anxious (about things that are totally fine). She is also having issues with other residents and staff. 

The main issue is she refuses to accept that she is ill and remains adamant that she has not symptoms’. She is becoming more socially inappropriate and suspicious. 

She now says she’s moving out, back into her old house that we are trying to sell. My question is - how you I know when it’s ethical and kind to NOT let her move out. I know she should stay there, and I am confident that the staff and most residents are good. 

Can anyone guide me through this?

Thanks

 


feudman
Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 10:32 AM
Joined: 6/5/2014
Posts: 1318


BostonMeredith, welcome to the forums. There are lots of knowledgeable folks here anxious to offer you advice, but you will get a much better response if you start a new thread:

After you sign in, You'll see a green "Add Topic" button at the top of the page: click on that, pick a title for your thread (such as "Why Can't Mom See She Needs Help?"), and then type your questions (or copy & paste).

Your mom may have anosognosia...her impairment makes her oblivious to her symptoms. This is common, and they honestly believe nothing is wrong with them. It's likely you will only make matters worse by trying to reason with her.

 We can help you learn how to talk with her to get the best results. For starters, you may want to watch some videos by "Teepa Snow" and/or "Naomi Feil" (she teaches a validation technique). I'm sure other members will have helpful advice...glad you found your way here.

 


 
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