You care deeply for your parents and grandparents and when the time comes that they are not able to care for themselves, you want to ensure that they are living in the best facility with the utmost care. There are enough horror stories in the news reporting about elder abuse in senior care facilities and the last thing you want to hear is your loved ones being among those affected.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can do a bit of a background check on these senior care facilities and determine which one is right for you. Here are a few red flags to look out for when choosing a senior care facility:

1. Online reviews can give a vital first clue

Google reviews tend to be popular when people express their feelings on a location. It may sound very simply, but online reviews – especially by a large number of people – can be decent indicators of a senior home’s quality. If the star ratings are overwhelmingly negative, that is definitely your first clue.

To go deeper, you should look at some of the reviews to see just what issues residents have been having with the place. Are the rooms well-maintained? Is the staff rude and uncourteous? Perhaps the issues are worse than that and reviewers have reported seeing mold and signs of elder abuse on the premises. If they have photos posted alongside their review, that can provide more concrete evidence to this being a subpar senior housing facility. As reviews can sometimes be misleading or biased, this should not be your only means of looking the place over.

2. The property is unkempt and unsafe

Another immediate red flag should be the state of care that the property stands in. If there’s mold, stains, dirty dishes piling up, linens are unkempt, and other visible cleanliness issues, you might start questioning the staff’s ability to not only take care of its residents. The space does not necessarily have to look pristine, but if it is the sort of place that you do not want your aging loved ones to live in, then you should consider looking at other places. As well, if there are clear hazards on the property (blocked hallways, cluttered rooms, exposed wiring), this should be a severe red flag. There’s no excuse for property neglect to border on dangerous.

3. A lack of staff interaction

A senior’s home should have the look and feel of a community. That means that the staff should have a decent connection with the residents, improving their day-to-day life conditions and mental health. On your visit, if you are not seeing any form of interaction or even an attempt, this could be a red flag. Establishing a connection and keeping senior residents mentally and socially engaged is important to their well-being. You definitely want to look for a senior home that makes this a priority.

4. A lack of activities

This is another point of engagement that should be prioritized in retirement homes. If residents are spending too much time in front of the television, this is a problem. Most senior housing complexes have an activity room or some kind of activity program that allows residents to get outside and become active. Activity helps improve the mental state of seniors and improves their day-to-day life.

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