What senior care specific procedures need to be available in an Adult Family Home in Kirkland?

Light levels both inside and outside an Adult Family Home

Every region in the country has its pros and cons when it comes to what needs to be in an Adult Family Home. In some cases, it’s the state law that decides what must and must not be provided, but the local climate and culture also plays a role. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, it’s important to have a well lit residence. With our long and dark winters, good lighting can make all the difference. In a region like, for example, New Mexico, there is a lot of light – with something like three hundred days of blue sky per year – shade might be a big consideration. So, here in Kirkland WA, we like light. First, the bit of sunshine we do get, we like to take full advantage of, so good sized windows are nice to see. Natural light is what our eyes are best suited to because it’s what humans evolved with. Sunlight is what is called full spectrum light, which brings me to the next point. Interior lighting is important because it affects mood and mobility. I remember, as my own father’s eyesight began to fade from diabetes, he helped himself see a lot better simply by increasing the light in the room.

Sound and quiet

The next quality on the list is noise levels. Something to remember about hearing loss is, a person suffering from it does not lose hearing uniformly. That is, it’s not simply as if the volume was turned down. It’s more like hearing loss in selected frequencies. If, for example, you were to lose hearing in higher frequencies, the lower frequencies you hear would seem amplified. Thus, certain noises might be more irritating to a person with hearing loss than they might be to you or me. What does that mean? It means, quietness is valued as an important characteristic in an Adult Family Home.

Food selection, quality and preparation

As we age, food is one pleasure and comfort that many of us cherish more. Our eyesight might be failing, our mobility might be impaired and we might not be able to hear our favorite music enough to fully enjoy it. Still, a nice meal can be therefore a comfort. Even in my fifties, I feel like food tastes better the older I get. It might be that I simply appreciate it more now, and don’t take it for granted like I used to when I was younger. For seniors in an Adult Family Home, quality food has a profound effect. First, the nutritional value of it is important. A balanced, healthy diet will improve quality of life, mood and general comfort levels. If you’ve ever finished off a pint of ice cream late one evening, you’ll probably remember how you felt the next morning. A big dose of fat and sugar will give you a type of hangover. On the other hand, if you eat a healthy meal in the evening, it will add to your feeling of well being the next day. As we age, this phenomenon becomes more acute. Food quality is an essential ingredient in any Adult Family Home.

In addition, flood flexibility is a real benefit. Not everyone eats the same way. For some, the prefer to eat earlier in the day, perhaps consuming the majority of what they needs earlier in the day. For others, a light snack in the morning is all they need. And for others, five small meals a day is preferable to three big ones. Be sure that any Adult Family Home you are considering matches the preferred eating patterns of your loved one.

Quality of facilities, especially sleeping room and bathrooms

If you’ve ever had to hobble around with a broken leg all wrapped in plaster, you’ll appreciate the assistance of rails, handles, and other improvements. Many seniors can have a variety of difficulties of moving around, and they will eventually need facilities to be upgraded for them. In my mother’s house where she has lived almost all her adult life, we got a simple railing installed so that she could move up and down the stairs with extra security. When she was rearing her kids (me included) she could ship up and down the stairs with ease, sometimes carrying one or two infants as she went. Now in her eighties, she has to truly focus her attention to simply make it up those same stairs on her own. Everything is that bit harder for her now although, thankfully, she lives a comfortable life generally. In an Adult Family Home, a bathroom must be well lit, have non-stick floor surfaces (or matting), support rails around the toilet and shower/bath unit, as well as other features like an emergency call button.

In an Adult Family Home, it’s all about safety and comfort.

Years ago, when my aging father-in-law visited us, we prepared as well as we could by making our home more safe. He liked to wash the dishes and other chores to help us, which was great of course, so before he arrived, we bought non-slip rubber mats for the kitchen, the bathroom he would be using, and any potentially slipper areas on the house. As we age, we must be more and more careful as we get progressively less stable on our feet.

The staff: probably the most important aspect

As the French say, hell is other people. Well, if we have loving and caring people around us, life is definitely good, but if we live among troubled folks, they can make our life a living hell. Nowhere more so than in an Adult Family Home where any one resident is vulnerable. It’s so important that the care giving staff are fully capable of looking after every resident.

A long time ago, in another life, I learned the three qualities of a good hire every interview candidate must pass in order to be a great employee. (1) They must be fully qualified / experienced for the work (2) they must love the actual work, and (3) on a cultural level, they must fit the organization. Well, number two, in an Adult Family Home, is critical. Some people simply like caring for others. They are natural at it, and often, it stems for a great history of family values.

Be sure that the staff who will ultimately look after your loved one truly loves to do the work.

Image by Sam Beasley