Tucson, AZ (PRWEB) September 09, 2013
On the heels of a PBS Frontline 4-part investigative series which identified serious quality and patient safety problems in some assisted living facilities, the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) released the results of a survey that offers critical advice to protect the growing number of seniors living in assisting living facilities.
"Too often families don't have the information they need to protect their loved ones residing in assisted living facilities," said Jullie Gray, NAPGCM President.
Nationwide, there are about 735,000 older Americans who reside in assisted living facilities. The typical resident is a woman about 87 years-old who is mobile, but needs assistance with approximately two to three activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and toileting. The number of Americans turning to assisted living is likely to grow.
Also, a new report by AARP, issued last week, predicts a sharp decline in the number of family caregivers available to help aging Baby Boomers, found that the number of Americans available to help care for their older family members will decline by nearly 50 percent in the coming decades as Baby Boomers get older. This decline in family caregivers will likely result in many more seniors moving into assisted living facilities.
New data from the National Investment Center (NIC) also points to a jump in assisted living. The NIC data reveals a major increase in the construction of new assisted living facilities with construction growing most rapidly in cities including Houston, Denver, Dallas, San Antonio and Phoenix.
Here are the top tips from the survey of professional geriatric care managers across the country conducted by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM):
Before choosing a facility, check with state or local licensing agencies and the local long-term care ombudsman to ask if the facility has had safety or quality problems or complaints. If there have been problems ask what they were, when they occurred and how they were resolved.
Visit your loved one often. If you live out of town, or are unable to visit, ask other family members and friends to visit.
When you visit, eat the food, observe the residents and their interactions with staff, and talk to other families who visit their loved ones. The more you are involved and know the residents and staff the more you will be able to identify and address concerns.
If your loved one has dementia, learn how the facility assures their safety, including how they protect residents who are inclined to wander and if staff has appropriate training to respond to this and other behaviors associated with dementia.
If your loved one begins to need more care than the facility provides, obtain an independent professional assessment to determine if the facility is still appropriate for them. Many assisted living facilities do not provide one on one care. A loved one needing individualized care may need additional help hired independently, to be moved to a facility with more care, such as a nursing home, or may need hospice to be initiated.
If your loved one reports, or if you observe, issues with care, take action immediately. Do not wait. If the problem is serious and is not addressed promptly, help or seek help in moving your loved one to another facility. Expect to make additional visits or hire a caregiver during the transition.
A professional geriatric care manager can be your “eyes and ears” as an advocate and a partner in assuring quality care for your loved one in the facility.
The survey of 355 geriatric care managers was conducted August 26-28, 2013.
The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who have extensive training and experience working with older people, people with disabilities and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist older adults, who wish to remain in their homes, or can help families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. The practice of geriatric care management and the role of care providers have captured a national spotlight, as generations of Baby Boomers age in the United States and abroad. For more information or to access a nationwide directory of professional geriatric care managers, please visit http://www.caremanager.org.