As a long-term care consultant for seniors and their families, I have visited many different types of facilities. But my favorite type of facility to visit is adult family homes. There are over 2,200 adult family homes in Washington State. Adult family homes have many things in common, but they are each unique in their individual decor and house size. Some are ultra fancy, some are tailored for country type folk, while some are modern and are bursting with color.
Each provider, like the differences you find in the decor of the homes, is individual in their personalities. Some are laid back, others are very vivacious; you will find that some are calm, quiet houses, while others are teeming with activity.
When you enter an adult family home, the first thing you will notice is that the adult family home smells wonderful. They take pride in making delicious homemade meals. Oftentimes, when you come into the homes, you’ll be greeted by the aroma of fresh baked bread, rolls, or muffins, not to mention the varieties of home made soups, baked chicken, roasts or casseroles, whose fragrance fill the air.
Adult family homes do not have overwhelming chemical smells like nursing homes. They have a smaller ratio of clients to serve, and clients are cared for in a much timelier manner, reducing odors.
The caregiver ratio is much smaller than in traditional institutional settings. (The caregiver to client ratio is 1:5 or 1:6.) This gives the caregiver and the client much more individualized time together. Careful personalized attention can be given to the individual senior living in this care setting. Bathing, dressing, putting on lotion and powders, not to mention the warmed up bathroom and the occasional dryer warmed towels for the client are all done in a manner that preserve the seniors' dignity. Oftentimes, I hear caregivers laughing with their residents while giving them a shower, and I have even heard some singing.
Many seniors bring their furniture from home, pictures from their living room walls, bedspreads, photo albums, and their own beds even. Having a piece of home with them helps them to feel more at home. I have been in several adult family homes that even paint the rooms the residents’ favorite color. Of course the amount of furniture you can bring depends on the size of the room.
Seniors don't have to share rooms in adult family homes. But if they choose to do so, adult family home providers are careful to ensure that there is a good match with the roommate. If you prefer your own private bathroom, some adult family homes offer those too.
Activities in the home are individualized to meet each senior’s preferences. Some seniors enjoy more activities and are encouraged to visit the senior centers, go on outings, attend church, or other social clubs, do light cooking and gardening. While other seniors enjoy a good book, watching TV, visiting with the caregivers (there is actually a lot of time for this), or just watching the birds through the kitchen window.
Caregivers have a chance to get to know each client’s individual tastes. If a client doesn't particularly like roast beef, accommodations will be made. You don't find nursing homes that will change a meal based on a single client’s wish. Many adult family homes have their residents help with the menu planning, so everyone gets to participate. Snacks are purchased with the specific individuals in mind. Each aspect of the care is tailored to the individual.
Perhaps the most important thing of all is that caregivers are with your loved one for more than just a shift. There is continuity of care. The person, who manages your loved ones care in the home, is more than likely the one who sleeps in the bedroom right next to them at night. The relationship becomes more personalized. Changes in the clients’ status are detected earlier, because a caregiver has taken time to notice. The staff turnover is minimal. A senior feels more comfortable confiding health problems with a friend rather than a staff member that he doesn't really know.
I could continue, because there are so many more things that make an adult family home a wonderful choice for long term care. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.