What are the most important aspects of an Adult Family Home in the Seattle area?

The short answer is Food, Location, Security, Staff and Peace, but let’s take each aspect individually and dig deeper into it.

Food is a big deal in an Adult Family Home

As we age, we become more sensitive to what we eat. If you remember, as a teenager, you might have been able to lunch on two Mars bars and a liter of Mountain Dew, but by the time we reach retirement age, such dreadful snacks don’t work so well. To live to a ripe old age, and in good health, what we eat is probably the single most important thing.

An Adult Family Home that serves good, nutritious food every single meal will greatly enhance the quality of life – and the longevity – of each resident. It’s challenging to provide 100% organic food ingredients, but the next best thing will be the provision of fresh ingredients versus out-of-the-can foods. The higher the percentage and variety of fresh vegetables in the residents’ diets, the better. Out-of-the-can clam chowder might be tasty indeed, and might save the Adult Family Home a bundle in food costs especially when buying bulk, but a home-made version of it will be far healthier. It’s also possible to control each ingredient exactly. Salt, fat, sugar and other ingredients can be problematic for seniors, so home-cooked food is clearly better.

Menu flexibility is another great advantage in an Adult Family Home. With a maximum of only six residents allowed in the state of Washington per Adult Family Home, it’s actually possible to serve each of the six residents almost exactly what they want to eat. There can be considerable ‘down time’ for the staff in an Adult Family Home. Some of the work is simply being there, being present, and supporting the residents emotionally, you could say. So why not use the time to craft meals that are perfect for each resident. It’s what any resident would love from their own family, so this is just adding weight to the word ‘Home’ in Adult Family Home.

If you are considering more than one Adult Family Home, don’t forget to ask about food flexibility. It’s particularly important if control of what they are eating is important. Diabetics, heart patients, and others will be pleased indeed to have this food advantage, but the comfort and psychological benefits are enormous.

Where is the Adult Family Home located geographically?

It might sound like a minor point, but where your loved one lives every day will be important because it will impact your own ability to visit them often and easily. Try dragging the kids on a two-hour journey to visit grandpa, compared to if he were to live fifteen minutes away!

Location also plays a role in what your loved one can experience in and around the home. For some residents of an Adult Family Home, going for a local walk will be very important. Others will need to stay under the direct supervision of the staff. If your loved one is the former, an Adult Family Home with easy walk trails or facilities within walking distance will be an advantage.

How secure is the Adult Family Home?

Security comes in many forms. Criminals might guess that in any facility where seniors live, drugs might be located. In fact, many homes are raided for drugs by individuals masquerading as house hunters. While one of the couple is distracting the real estate agent, the other is examining the medicine cabinets for opportunity. Whatever about drugs being stolen, and the impact on the thieves relating to it, a prescription can be replaced relatively easily. The risk is, you don’t want people wandering in, potentially interfering with residents in an attempt to get hold of whatever drugs they might have access to.

Living in an Adult Family Home that takes security seriously is an important consideration.

Another element of security is whether the home has what is called ‘wake staff’. Wake Staff are care givers that stay through the night. Although they might not necessarily be awake all night long, they are there to respond quickly to an emergency. It might be something simple like someone falling out of bed of getting into a situation in a bathroom, but a wake staff member can make the difference between a medical emergency and a minor incident. Without wake staff, a three AM emergency might necessitate the calling of an ambulance. The ten minutes it takes to deal with the situation can feel like a long time indeed. In addition, wake staff will likely know each resident’s medical profile and will be able to respond without having to research all the facts first.

How is the Adult Family Home staffed?

The quality of life for any resident in an Adult Family Home will be impacted greatly by the staff that works there everyday. Being a resident puts a person in a position of vulnerability, of sorts, as is the case in almost any care giving situation.

Very often, staff at an Adult Family Home are actually working part time, and are retired registered nurses. This is the perfect care giver profile for working at an Adult Family Home because their decades of experience of intense medical care of many individuals enhances their ability to deal with the typical, minor issue that surfaces at an Adult Family Home.

How peaceful is the Adult Family Home?

Many people move into an Adult Family Home because living with their own adult children – even with the best of intentions – got to be too stressful. In many cases, a senior is living also with their grandchildren. Their own children are working all day, and taking care of their own children. The pace and stress of all that can at times overwhelm a senior, so they opt for the Adult Family Home. So it’s important that this new place your loved one does, in fact, offer a great degree of peace.

And here is where the staff becomes a central issue. Do they have excellent nurturing skills? What happens if a resident has a melt-down?

But there is another big factor that impacts the peace levels of an Adult Family Home. Is the home on a quiet street, or a noisy intersection? Is the TV blaring at top volume all day because one of the residents is hard of hearing? Is there peaceful spots in the home available to retire to, in addition to their own room? Ands what happens at night? Does the home quieten down, or are there activities that impact the sleep quality of the residents?

Be sure to check out – as best you can – what the noise levels are. For me, as I get older, I certainly appreciate a good night’s sleep. I know it’s vital for all of as as we get older.

Check back next week!