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What Signs You Need to Be Aware of When Looking at Assisted Living Facilities


SEATTLE, Wash. June 16, 2023 - There are several reasons why someone is seeking extra care. It can be due to age or illness and staying home may no longer be the right option.

In-home care can be a great option, allowing one to stay in their home, with the help of a caregiver. However, sometimes assisted living is a better option. Assisted Living is often a great option for people who enjoy the social interaction of a senior community, move into the city or are looking for amenities and resources they may not have access to in their home.

But how do you know you or a loved one is ready for assisted living? On top of that, how do you know you found a community or home that is the best fit for you?

I spoke with Tibi Botocan, a Senior Living and Care Advisor who owns A1 Senior Care Advisors in King County, Washington, to learn more about how he places people’s loved ones into a community that is best for that individual.

It's very complex,” explains Botocan. “I think there is a lot of unnecessarily misleading information, I think it's mostly shortcoming information. And I'm trying to convince people that it is a good idea to have the help of someone like me.”

Placement providers such as Botocan assist people in the search for the right care options. Those options can range from home care, assisted living, adult family homes, memory care, to hospice care

Botocan has a very extensive process in place to help families make informed decisions. He gets as much information from the person who needs care as possible and meets with that individual and their family to find out where they want to live. Botocan manages the legal work and narrows the search to a handful of places to show families. Botocan accompanies each client to different facilities, making sure all the right questions are being asked and that he can make the right recommendations. From there, he conducts background checks on these facilities, and looks at their state surveys, if they have citations, fines, or enforcement letters. 

With such a lengthy process, having someone helping you in making these decisions can take a lot of stress off families in placing their loved ones in the right care.

With so many factors to consider, one thing a lot of people are not familiar with is the type of licensing each facility has. Each assisted living facility is licensed differently

Botocan says, “If a resident in that facility would need, let's say, one-person assistance, meaning that they need one caregiver to help them transfer from the bed onto a chair. That's one-person assistance, they need to be licensed. If that resident needs two-person assistance, it's a different type of licensing. If the person needs to use a mechanical lift or a Hoyer to be transferred, then that's a different level of licensing. So, the higher level of care an assisted living can provide, it's based on the type of license that they have.”

For someone navigating care options by going online, not being aware of the different types of licensing could cause problems to come up later. As a loved one’s needs become more intense down the road, the facility they were originally placed in might not be able to accommodate their care level. That means you are going to have to go through the process again of finding care for your family member where their needs are met through a facility that’s properly licensed. 

There are other factors people should be mindful of when exploring different facilities that go beyond licensing as well. Botocan says, “I encourage people to see, I would say a minimum of three facilities. So, they have something to compare with. Not too many, because then it becomes confusing you forget which one is what.”

Botocan also recommends talking to residents when you’re visiting assisted living facilities. 

Just say hello, and I'm looking for my parents for a facility,” says Botocan. “How do you like it here? How is the food? Do you have a good activity program? Do they provide transportation to the places you want to go? Do you feel that they pay attention to your needs? Are you overall satisfied? Would you recommend a place like this to your best friends? Questions like that.

Botocan encourages families looking at facilities to visit during mealtimes. He says it’s a great opportunity to see what the food looks like firsthand, how the service is, and what variety of foods are served. It’s a good idea to ask facility management different questions relating to a loved one’s diet.

He says, “Ask questions - I am a diabetic, would you be able to accommodate the diabetic diet? I have a doctor's order for a low-sodium diet, would you be able to accommodate that? Would you be able to accommodate those three times a day?”

Another common issue that gets overlooked is parking. Botocan says,I've heard people in the past who go to visit a community or assisted living, and they have a really hard time parking, finding a parking spot or the parking lot. They have to find parking in the streets. You have to take that into consideration if you want to go visit your mom three times a week, every week, then you're going to deal with that too.”

Turnover management is another aspect families want to pay attention to. Having a facility go through different management isn’t always a red flag. What is a warning sign to be aware of is how often management has changed within a five-year span as that is a shorter time frame for the facility to go through multiple hands. 

Right at Home Services:

For those in South Snohomish, King, or Pierce Counties who are interested in learning more about in-home care, please visit our websites listed below or call us at (206)-774-1100.

Erin Roney bio image
Erin holds her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations from the University of Colorado Denver. She has spent a few years as a TV broadcaster, working as a main anchor, multimedia journalist, weather anchor, show producer and web producer. Erin also has experience as an on-air host for a live video gaming platform. Her roles included editing videos, interviewing, developing story ideas and scripts, as well as producing various forms of content for online and TV use. As the Content Manager for Right at Home Seattle-Eastside and Pierce County, she continues to interview local people within the health care industry to provide resources for our clients and answer their most asked questions. 
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