Portland Retirement Communities

For those of you living in Portland and the northwest part of the US, due to the weather changes you may want to take more of an active, participatory role when your elder is considering moving into one of the many Portland retirement communities or environs.  There is a bit of homework you need to do, but remember to keep your elder involved in every stage of the decision process.

Getting started.  Location is an important consideration.  Is the Portland retirement community close enough for friends and family to visit on a regular basis?  Inquire about the possibility of waiting lists.  Visit all retirement communities under consideration, and drop in unannounced at several times of the day, during mealtimes, and at nighttime.  If any facility restricts visiting hours, it may have something to hide.

Do a thorough background check on financial stability, ownership, management and staff qualifications.  If necessary, use the services of an ombudsman, who is an advocate for residents, to inquire about any past resident or family complaints or even lawsuits.

With any of the retirement communities under consideration, verify that it has complied with all state licensing and accreditation requirements.  Obtain a copy of the community’s last inspection report.  Also, try to have them provide financial statements from the retirement community director, and have these statements verified by an attorney or trusted financial advisor.

Whatever is discussed about the retirement community, make sure it is in writing.  Request a copy of any resident “Bill of Rights” so you have it, but from this you can also determine the type of retirement community it may be.  And remember, before signing any agreements, review contracts, printed material and re3sident rules and regulations with an attorney.

During your visit, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this a safe, comfortable, pleasant place?
  • Are the residents and staff cheerful and friendly?
  • Are there odors I don’t recognize or like?
  • Are the rooms well kept and nicely furnished?
  • Is the overall retirement community clean? Organized? Secure? Bug-free?
  • Is the kitchen clean?
  • Is the refrigerator clean and stocked?  Are dishes, pots and pans clean?
  • Are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers visible?
  • Does every room, including each bathroom, have an emergency call system?
  • Are bathrooms and showers properly maintained and stocked?
  • Are all rooms, hallways and elevators wheelchair accessible?
  • Are telephones within reach of wheelchair-bound residents?
  • Are there plenty of handrails and grab bars in every room and hallway?
  • Are floors slippery?
  • Are heating and cooling systems working? Adequate?
  • Are there accessible outdoor areas for residents to enjoy?
  • Are the buildings and grounds well kept?
  • Is the lawn mowed? Snow shoveled?
  • Are the sidewalks and curbs even and smooth?

These are the kinds of things that everyone should look for in their home, and in each of the retirement communities you are considering.


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