Adult family homes, also called group homes, recently took a hit in the press with Seattle Times' "Seniors for Sale." The five-part investigative report released in February and Sept. 4 and 5 uncovered widespread abuse and neglect in this ill-regulated and rapidly growing industry. My previous post examined the findings.
What does this mean for you if your aging parent needs care, and you want a small, homelike setting? Excellent adult family homes do exist, provided you do your homework.
1. Once you find your desired location, do an Internet search to find several addresses. Or ask friends or associates for referrals. Drive by each home and look closely. Is the home in good repair? Is the grass mowed? Little things count.
2. Visit each home several times, at least one announced. Try to arrive at mealtime to observe the quality and quantity of the food. Are staff and residents enjoying one another? Or do residents seem stressed? Does the home look and smell clean and fresh? What about activities? Music? Look at the entire home, staff and program in the light of your parent's needs.
3. Ask the owner, manager or other representative to show you the most recent state inspection report. If you need help interpreting it, ask a friend in the medical field.
4. Call the Long Term Ombudsman in your area to see if any complaints have been filed recently against the home. Ombudsmen work to resolve problems of individual residents and to work on the local, state and national levels to improve care.
5. Contact the Better Business Bureau to check out the home's record.
6. If these steps sound like too much work, consider contacting an eldercare referral agency or a geriatric care manager. Both can be of help in locating a good fit.
Do you have personal experience with a good group home or a bad one?