5 Essential Tips for Choosing a Care Home for Your Mother in Ontario

Placing your parents in a care home can be one of the biggest decisions you make in your life. Moving a parent into assisted living can be an emotional rollercoaster, even if they are eager to do so. In this article, we share some great tips to help you choose a care home for your mother (and they’re great for dad, too!)

1.    Location is Crucial

When choosing a care home, location should be your utmost priority. Why? You don’t want your mother to feel isolated. You have to take into account whether the location is realistic. Consider the in-person visits and the time it would take to reach the place in an emergency. Finding a care home that meets all the requirements and is close to your location could be difficult. However, you can check out the Home and Community Care Support Services website to find nearby care facilities and useful information about the different types of care available in Ontario. 

2.    Level of Care Required

Before you relocate your mother to a care home, it is important you take into account what type of care she might need. Ask yourself these questions to assess her needs:

    • Can she move independently?
    • Is she getting forgetful?
    • Does she have any comorbidities?
    • Can she take care of her personal hygiene?

The answer to these questions will give you an idea of the level of care required. Care homes may or may not provide all of the services your mother needs, so be sure to ask questions to determine the right fit for her next home. While you might not require these services at present, you would prefer not to transfer your mother to a different facility should this become required in the future. Check to ensure the care home can match the level of care required today and in the future.

3.    Resident / Care Provider Ratio & Staff Turnover

This is a key question that is often skipped. The ratio of the number of staff in comparison with the number of patients in a care home is known as the staff ratio. If the staff ratio is too low, it can have an impact on the quality of care as there might not be enough staff to take care of each resident’s needs. While a higher number of care providers does not necessarily always ensure high-quality care, it certainly gives you peace of mind that your mother will get more attention from her care providers.

Staff turnover is another unusual metric that is hardly ever considered when choosing a care home. This might not seem like a big deal, but familiarity is going to make your mother feel like she belongs. If a care home has a high turnover rate, there is a possibility that your mother is not going to get the consistent care she needs and deserves.

4.    Pricing of Care homes

Most everyone wants the best care for their mother, and if money were no object, the decision might be easier. Unfortunately, budgets and commitments affect everyone, so you’ll want to do your research to ensure you’re getting as much value as possible for your available budget. Facilities may charge differently based on their services, location, reputation, and quality. While planning a monthly budget for care can be stressful, it is important to understand the financial demands and make decisions accordingly. 

5.    Quality of Life

Your mother deserves a good time in her care home. So, before choosing a care home for your mother, chat with some of the other residents and activity coordinators to see what a typical day is like. Will your mom enjoy spending time with the people in this facility?

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What do they do for fun?
  • Are there planned activities for elders?
  • How are the dining facilities? 
  • Are there activities available outside the facility?
  • If there’s a library, games room, pool, or other amenities, are they well-kept?

If a care home provides necessary leisure and activities for your mother, it may help her make friends and stay active. In addition to receiving care, she can enjoy her time in the care home.

Additional questions

Some other considerations that can help you choose the right space for your aging parent:

  • Do the residents look content and well cared for?
  • Are the staff friendly and warm, and do they show a tone of dignity and respect towards residents (even when they know you’re not around)?
  • What routines are typical or expected of the resident (e.g. dining, bathing, exercise, etc.)
  • Can my family doctor continue providing care for me?
  • What special needs can the home accommodate (e.g. oxygen, scooters, electric wheelchairs, foot care, hair styling, entertainment, etc.)?

Choosing an ideal care home for your mother can be difficult because there are so many factors to consider. We have summarized some key factors you can keep in mind. We hope these five tips will help you make the right choice to provide her with a smooth and happy elderly life.  

If you would like more information or assistance with potential spaces for your aging parent, contact us today! We can do the research to provide you with options, similar to a concierge service. We can’t wait to take this journey with you!