Margie and I had to ask ourselves this question multiple times before making a final decision to put our time and money into opening an Adult Foster Care Home (AFCH). It was a tough decision because we were both content being home health physical therapists for the previous 12 years and weren’t sure we wanted to give up our profession that we had gone to school for seven years to earn (not to mention the student loan debt we were still paying for).
So with lots of student loan debt still to pay back, with little savings and a satisfying career, why did we move forward with the crazy idea of opening an Adult Foster Care Home in 2008 and then proceed to open two more in two and a half years? With our firsthand experience with going into “senior” communities, we realized many “seniors” in our community were not getting as good of care as they deserved.
Our decision was finally made to move forward when we made a list of concerns we were repeatedly witnessing on a daily basis:
Substandard care in large facilities for lower functioning individuals.
We would often hear from families and observe in larger facilities that their care needs were not being met, such as:
- Residents with dementia were often very anxious because they were unsure of the unfamiliar surroundings. There was no one around to comfort and reassure them.
- Residents waiting 30 minutes to get assistance to use the restroom.
- A resident had fallen and been on the floor for several hours because no one had checked on them and they were unable to remember to use the “call light”.
- A resident who wanted to isolate themselves in their room because the large facility was overwhelming and made them feel uncomfortable.
Need for healthcare professionals operating Adult Foster Care Homes.
As home health physical therapists working with patients in AFCH’s, we found that residents moving into an AFCH were becoming increasingly more medically fragile and requiring more memory care. With this change in the level of care that was needed for these “seniors”, it was obvious that healthcare professionals needed to be operating these homes to provide the oversight and quality of care they needed.
Need for more individualized care.
Adult Foster Care Homes have a 1:5 caregiver to resident ratio. No other care facilities have a ratio this low, therefore we knew that a “senior” in an Adult Foster Care home would have more individualized care, such as getting assistance to the bathroom in a timely manner, receiving assistance with an exercise program, or a caregiver spending time talking with each resident during the day, etc.
A home-like, small environment.
When the time comes for seniors to move out of their homes, it is comforting for them to move into a home-like environment. The change from living in their home is not as drastic if they move into a place that is similar to home with a caregiver who can assist with their daily needs.
Many “seniors” are on a very limited income and are unable to afford some of the high costs of larger facilities. Adult Foster Care Homes are a much more affordable alternative to higher priced facilities.
After completing this list, researching the details on how to open an Adult Foster Care home, and taking Adult Foster Care Home classes, we opened our first home in September 2008. There have been many bumps along the way and many sacrifices our own families have made, but every time we have a family member tell us how thankful they are that their mom or dad moved into our home, we know we have made the right choice.
We hope that this list inspires you to choose an Adult Foster Care home for your loved one.