What's the best way to "get to know" a new ALF after your elders move in?

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Well obviously, spend time there! I've answered my own question already, ha ha. But a few weeks in now to this, I'm still being surprised by things I didn't know about. Nothing negative, just lots of "Oh, I didn't know that was how this worked" moments. I'd love an orientation, so I can make sure there isn't anything I'm missing, but I'm not sure who to ask. Everyone seems to have their specific roles in the ALF, and no one is kind of a general "ombudsperson" for residents, other than the marketing director, and that job is really about bringing in more residents rather than making sure families are connected to how things work. I've met with the director, I've met with the head of nursing and activities, and I've met lots of (great) staff day in and day out during visits. I'm beginning to wish we had been given some kind of "tour for new families" that tells us basic things, so that we can answer our parents' questions in some way other than "I don't know but I can ask someone". Things like, How do they manage the laundry rooms? Where are there garbage cans in the building, in case the cans in their apartment get full? I've gotten these types of questions answered on the fly, but gosh, it sure would be nice to have a basic orientation tour, or even a one-sheet explainer. Is this something you've seen offered in buildings you're familiar with? Do you have any suggestions for who I could approach about this without giving offense? I don't want them to think we are unhappy, we actually are ecstatic with the place, the people, and the care our parents are receiving. I'd especially appreciate advice from professionals who work in ALFs. Thanks!

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Helpermom, I've had the same experience as you with each of the places my mom has been ( IL, AL,NH) so I think it must be systemic. By the time we got to the nh, I asked who my point person for questions was, as I live at a distance and generally can only be there on weekends. In my case, the social worker is able to find out most information for me, but I think each place is different. Pam, as always, has great suggestions.
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Ah! Thank you so much, Pam. I didn't even think of asking for a copy of the resident handbook. I do know there is a resident council, but I don't think I've met any of the members yet, and I hadn't thought of getting connected with them myself. That's an excellent idea. I've met with the nurse and the activities director, and I have had lots of contact with aides and am always sincerely grateful for their help (they're pretty wonderful). They already have had extra garbage emptying added to their services, and now of course I know where the shared cans are if I do need one -- that was just an example of the kind of question that's come up for me as I've gone along. I appreciate your advice very much!
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I have found the Head Nurse to be indispensable, someone you should be in regular contact with. After that, the Activities Supervisor who can fill you in on what you patient is actually participating in. You should also read the resident handbook completely. Find out who is the head of the resident council and keep in touch with them. Always thank the aides. Go there for lunch even if there is a small fee, to check out the food. If the garbage is full, call the front desk, they will send someone. Most places post the laundry and shower days in the room. Most places have monthly meetings for caregivers like you.
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