Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Things to Look For in Long-term Care

        Health | Elder Care

The Other People
Size up your potential neighbors.
Size up your potential neighbors.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

While scoping out the environment of the long-term care facility is important, so too ­is observing how people fit into that environment. That means taking a look at the current residents to see if they seem happy and engaged. They should look clean and well-groomed, because this will indicate that someone has taken care of them recently. Are there people moving around, taking part in activities, or are most people staying in their rooms by themselves?

To truly get the vibe of other people, you should visit more than once. Your formal visit, with the facility's tour guide, will obviously be the residence's attempt to show you the best of the best. Stop by at least twice more, unannounced, to see how people behave when tours aren't going on. By checking into common rooms and dining areas at different points in the day, you'll get a sense of what a full 24-hour period might be like in the home.