We’ve mentioned on multiple occasions that adult family homes are the most popular senior living option in Seattle, but you may still be wondering why (and how). For starters, these are typical homes you’d find in any neighborhood, the only difference is they’ve been retrofitted specifically to house seniors. Additionally, the staff to resident ratio is just about even so that elders receive personal and customized care. We’ll go into more detail on both of those below.
Here are the top 5 reasons adult family homes in Seattle are the most popular choice for elders living in the Pacific Northwest.
1. Neighborhood Homes
A big factor that puts adult family homes a tier above other senior living options is the fact that they are homes. These are houses you’d find in a traditional neighborhood — they may be in your neighborhood.
Years ago, a huge determining factor in deciding on where elders wanted to live was the look & feel of the home. This is why nursing homes became dated, they looked more like hospitals — very sterile, squeaky clean, and stagnate environments. Of course, most (if not all) senior living options have learned from this and refitted their halls with carpet as opposed to hospital tile; many have gone so far as to add wallpaper or paint the walls different colors to evoke a more homey feel instead of the detached “white” of hospitals.
Assisted living is designed to look like apartments, and skilled nursing facilities — if they don’t look like homes, then they look like gyms. However, none of these compare to adult family homes which are actual homes inside and out.
2. Resident to Staff Ratio
This is an important factor because it’s something that comes up a lot, especially if your elder needs significant care. A question many adult children ask is, “What kind of care is my loved one going to receive?” In assisted livings, it may not be clear because you can have 1 staff member for every 10 or 50 residents. At night, that ratio doubles.
But with adult family homes in Seattle, there’s a limitation on the number of residents allowed in a elder care household, and that number is 6. Legally, these home cannot exceed that number.
Given that most adult family homes have at least 3 full-time nurses, the ratio between staff and resident is good.
3. Personalized Care
This point goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but it’s worth noting separately due to its importance. Because there are fewer staff members, the amount of care and attention your elder receives is highly personalized which is great for seniors who require minor- to moderate care.
If your elder suffers from a disability or memory problems, then adult family homes can provide a very specific health routine. Plus, staff members will know your elder intimately, meaning their diagnosis, their needs, medications, treatments, etc. A caregiver would have to consciously try to avoid your elder to not learn who they are.
We’ve often said that if you’re touring an assisted living community, one of the ways you can determine the community’s value is by seeing how your tour guide treats residents. Do they say hello to seniors you pass by; do they know the elders by name? That kind of thing can be a subtle way of showing you how connected the staff are with the residents. In adult family homes however, you know with certainty that the staff know their name.
4. On-Call Nurse
Not only are adult family homes legally required to have a 24-hour registered nurse on call, but most (if not all) homes are run by a nurse or gerontology specialist. The reason that’s such a huge selling point for elders and families alike is because that means there’s no “smoke and mirrors” so to speak.
In other words, you’re not touring the home with a marketing specialist, you’re touring the home with a gerontology specialist, someone who is in the field because they care about seniors. What’s more is, because there needs to be a 24-hour registered nurse, and because they’re usually the ones running the senior care home, they are also usually living in the house as well. Many staff live in-home.
For many adult children and seniors alike, this comes as a relief. No more fears of falling in their home and not being found for days, but rather, people will be there instantaneously.
5. Licensed by the Government
Now all senior living options are licensed by the government and inspected by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), but we specifically mention it with family homes because of the first point, it is a home.
Adult family homes need to meet the State’s standard to be considered a legal senior living home. They need to be retrofitted for seniors. This means they need to be wheelchair accessible, they need grab bars and safety precautions in place for elders.