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5 Things to Look For in Long-term Care

        Health | Elder Care

The Food
Be sure to have lunch or dinner at each facility.
Be sure to have lunch or dinner at each facility.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

When you're touring a nursing home or assisted living facility, you'll likely be provided with a long list of social activities available to residents -- everything from bingo to swim classes. And while a long list of activities is a good way to pick a summer camp, there's no guarantee that the aging adult in question will want to spend a Tuesday afternoon making lanyards. That's why it's more important to focus on the one social engagement on everyone's calendar: meals.

Even if assisted living residents insist on spending all of their free time parked in front of the television, they're usually required to show up for meals. Since meals are often the primary activity of the day, take time to visit the dining areas and have a meal there. Consider whether the food is tasty enough to eat every day, and request a week's worth of menus to see if there's a variety of options.

Two other things to check are how dietary restrictions and preferences, such as keeping kosher, are handled, and whether a resident can get extra food or a snack throughout the day. These last two considerations will give you a clue as to whether the facility sees its residents as numbered mouths to feed or as distinct individuals with their own needs and desires. If the residents are given special attention when it comes to meals, then that standard of care usually carries over into other spheres as well.