If you’re choosing an assisted living facility for your older loved one, there may be various factors you are considering. There are many different types of assisted living facilities in many different sizes. You might not consider a smaller assisted living facility because you aren’t sure what to expect. Some might have the idea that a smaller assisted living facility means higher costs, but that isn’t always the case. There are many reasons you may want to consider choosing a smaller assisted living community over a larger one.
Focus On the Individual
When considering an assisted living facility, one common fear is that your loved one will be just a number among a sea of people. In larger facilities, your loved one may just be a person in the system, especially in a facility that feels more like a hospital than a home. A larger facility might also need to rotate staff more often, which, in turn, can create a situation where it feels like the staff doesn’t seem to actually care for the people living there.
However, in a smaller assisted living facility, your loved one will have an easier time forming closer relationships and building trust with staff. A smaller community provides the opportunity for your loved one to feel cared for by those around them and to develop a deeper relationship with those who take care of them.
Easier to Make Close Friendships
In a larger facility, it’s easier to get lost in the crowd. However, in a smaller facility with fewer people, your loved one has the ability to meet numerous people and retain friendships. Smaller assisted living facilities are truly a community. It can be common for people to feel lonely in a crowd because there is a lack of authentic connections in larger groups. Smaller groups allow people to get to know each other and form authentic friendships.
No One-Size-Fits-All Approach
Sometimes facilities that are larger tend to follow a cookie-cutter approach. There isn’t a focus on individual treatment and the individual needs and wishes of the person. They might have some options in place, but there isn’t a consideration for what the individual needs, rather what the average person needs.
Smaller Facilities Are Easier to Navigate
It’s easier to get lost in larger facilities. This can become a problem, especially if your loved one can be forgetful or have a cognitive disorder that affects their memory. Even someone who has a decent memory could get lost in a larger facility. Larger facilities can also be challenging to navigate if your loved one is physically disabled. If your loved one uses a wheelchair, a cane, or a walker, it can take a toll on them to retrace their steps if they are lost. However, smaller facilities are easier to navigate, which can spare your loved one extra stress and strain on their body.
Larger Focus on Comfort
A smaller community allows the facility to focus on the comfort of the home. On the other hand, larger facilities that have many rooms only provide the bare minimum; the focus is on providing as many beds as possible instead of making it feel like a home. While this is understandable, especially if they want to keep costs low, the lack of comfort can take a toll on the person living in the facility.
Easier Control of Virus Outbreaks
As the world has learned from the recent pandemic, it’s easy to spread a virus. COVID-19 was especially hard among senior communities who are more at risk for experiencing severe symptoms. However, smaller communities have an easier time containing an outbreak because the bubble is smaller. This is also true for viruses other than COVID-19 that could be passed from caretaker to resident and between other residents.
Access to More Services
Fewer people in a facility means that there is no waiting list for services because there is enough staff per resident. People don’t need to compete for resources or wait until something becomes available. They have access to what they need. This can become important for services like mobile dental services and weekly doctor appointments. Your older loved ones may need access to expedited care for various reasons, including possible susceptibility to sudden illnesses and medical emergencies, even in the safety of assisted living.
It Feels More Like Home
If your loved one is used to living alone or with a few people, a smaller assisted living facility can be easier to get used to. A large change can be overwhelming, but smaller assisted living facilities can feel more like home. Your loved one might just feel like they moved into a new apartment instead of as if they’ve moved to another planet.