Tips for choosing an aged care facility

Posted on : Feb 09, 2023

What to look for when choosing aged care
When looking into aged care options for yourself or a loved one, there are several important factors to consider in order to ensure that the care provided meets your needs and preferences. Here are a few things to look for when evaluating aged care options: 
Facility and care: What are the levels of care offered? Is a GP on call 24/7 and the last DHB Audit result available? When you are investigating the units, take into consideration whether the rooms appear clean and homely with plenty of natural light, what the temperature is like and if it’s adjustable, whether they are furnished, and if the rooms have an ensuite.
Quality of care: Look for a facility or provider that has a good reputation for providing high-quality care. Speak with current residents or their families to get a sense of their experiences. Think about whether there are support services, a bell, or care onsite and what these services cost. Ask if there is respite or short term care offered as park of your ORA and what levels of care are offered, if required. See whether residents get priority for any care services onsite.
Location: This is an important aspect to consider. Think about whether it is located near friends and family for support. Is it close to the shops, transport, church or social clubs which are important to you? Is it on flat land and easy access for walkers? How about nice green spaces and gardens?
Social: Ask to see the events and activities calendar for this month to see if there are social activities that appeal. Talk to the staff and other residents and assess if you find them approachable and friendly. Have a chat to find out if there is a residents committee and get a feel for the overall atmosphere in the village.
Meals: For those needing food supplied this is an important factor! See if you can have a meal while visiting and ask the other residents what they say about the food. Are there tea or coffee making facilities for the residents and are they able to cater for special dietary needs and is this an additional cost? How is the general feel of the dining room?
Financial: This can be broken into 5 areas:
- Entry Price
- Weekly fee cost? And is it fixed, CPI linked or increasable by the operator?
- Maximum DMF (Deferred management fee)? And over how many years?
- Do you get a share of Capital Gain? Exposed to Capital Loss?
- Fees for transferring to another unit, if required? Does a second DMF apply?
Exit: Although at this stage, exiting may be the last thing on your mind, it’s important to consider this angle also. When do fees stop? When is capital returned? What if it doesn’t sell? Are there any costs for refurbishment and any other costs you should know about like admin fees.
Independent reviews: For a genuine idea of the facility, do some research here on our website! Do they have a current rating score and have they won any People’s Choice Awards? Once you’ve chosen a spot to live don’t forget to fill out your own review to help other’s with the decision you’re making right now.

Consulting with a geriatric care manager or social worker can also be helpful in evaluating the care options available to you or your loved one. This is an important decision that needs to be well informed, so it's important to visit facilities, ask for information, and gather as much information as possible. Good luck!