Making the decision for yourself or for a loved one to move into an assisted living community can be a very difficult decision. It can feel additionally overwhelming trying to find the community that is right for you or your loved one’s care needs, preferences and more.
Here are some of the “most frequently asked questions” that are encountered.
Start the Senior Living Conversation before Crisis Mode
Most incoming calls to senior living communities come in a form of a crisis. Many people do not want to give up their autonomy or their home, but then find themselves in a situation when they begin needing more help than family or friends can provide. Family members usually initiate these calls. Adult children often wish they had been proactive in preparing their parents for a change in their living situation. Waiting causes more stress on them, as well as on the family. Engage in open communication with your loved one regarding their thoughts on how they see themselves living their lives as they age. Also, try to be realistic. Staying home alone may not always be an option, even with in-home care.
One of the most important reasons to start the senior living conversation early is to help begin the transition out of the home. Conversations should include what items in their home have sentimental or monetary value. Also, ask your loved one what aspects of their living they would like to maintain as they move to a new home. What will they miss the most? Do they value their space, and may like to have a garage or large apartment? What does independence look like to them? Do they have strong social circles? These questions are important to ask when finding the perfect living situation for your loved one.
Get on a Waiting List if Needed
The second most common question is availability. Most calls are received from family members when their loved one needs to move in immediately. That can be challenging for any assisted living community to accommodate, as a room may not be available. Be proactive and get on a waiting list before you find yourself in a crisis situation. Especially if you find the perfect assisted living facility that meets you and your loved ones needs.
Learn About Assisted Living Payment Options
It is a common myth that Medicare pays for assisted living. This is not the case. The cost of care can be high. Start looking at finances to see if your parents can afford a higher level of care. Sit down with the administrators of assisted living facilities early in your search to discuss viable payment options.
If your loved one decides to stay in his/her home, there are many resources in the community to help make that possible. These resources can help you with transportation, food, medical care, companionship, respite care and more. Contact the Area Agency on Aging and use their knowledge as a resource guide for your care needs. The goal for thosewho work in the senior living environment or have aging loved in ones is to ensure that individuals have the best care possible, with little impact on their quality of life. Understanding what “quality of life” means to you or your loved one is an important factor in determining the ideal living situation.