It’s never an easy decision, deciding that a loved one needs to move into aged care, but sometimes it’s a necessary one.

Sometimes the reality is that they cannot live in their own home anymore, or it’s just not possible for the family to care for them. It’s a difficult process that the older person and their loved ones need to work on together to make it a successful one.

At the end of the day, everyone wants what’s best for the person – and that means having quality care in a home that is the best for them.

Though a lot of focus is often on location and cost, there are a number of other things people should be asking on facility tours to ensure they learn as much before making a decision.

Here is a list of 10 questions people should ask when looking at aged care.

1. What is included in the fees? And what are “extras”?

One thing that most people are often concerned with is the cost of aged care. It can be confusing so try to take the time understand exactly what you are expected to pay and what is included.

Often, the weekly/monthly fee is not the end of what you will be charged. Some facilities, you may find, will be reasonably priced, but all the features will be added “extras” or “additional fees”.

2. What is the food like at the facility?

Food is a huge part of a person’s life, and that includes aged care – it’s important that there is high quality food that is nutritious and hydrating. You may like to ask the home if they will allow you to sample one of the meals when you visit.

If your loved one has eating difficulties, such as swallowing or dental problems, ask what the home does to help manage that.

3. What activities do the facilities have for the residents?

While food and medical care are essential for daily living in aged care, you also need to think about the recreational activities that are offered in the facility.

This is where your loved one will be spending an overwhelming majority of their time, when they aren’t eating or sleeping, what will they be doing?

While some people don’t mind watching TV, others will want to go outside or do crafts. Here, the facilities have to be in tune with what their residents need to ensure their wellbeing.

4. What is the staff to resident ratio?

This may be a tricky one to ask – and some facilities may be reluctant to answer it – but it’s important to ask it anyway.

Some facilities will have a few staff working a large room of residents, which is not ideal because that means the staff will be rushed and will only have a short amount of time with every resident they care for.

You do not want to send your loved one to a facility where the staff are spread out thinly across residents.

5. Is there always a Registered Nurse or General Practitioner available?

There should be adequate medical care on offer for your loved on in the facility. Ask whether there is a nurse or doctor available for residents should they need one. Ask who is in charge of dispensing medication – is it a nurse or a carer?

Emergencies can arise at anytime, so you need to make sure the facility is prepared for the worse.

6. Who are the owners and the senior staff members? Can you meet some of the staff?

The staff are the backbone of the facility – learn who the senior staff are and who the owners are. If you have any concerns, complaints or feedback, these will be the people you need to speak to.

7. How often can family and friends visit? Can we bring pets on visits?

As the loved ones of the resident, you will want to undoubtedly visit and check up on them. Find out what visiting is like; can you go every day? Or are there specific visiting hours on specific days?

If your loved one had a pet that they can no longer care for, find out if you’re allowed to bring them on the visits with you? The resident may miss the pet, and there are benefits of having their beloved pet visit them.

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