When spending time with your elderly loved ones, they might appear to be doing okay but you may notice that things just seem a bit “off.” Mom doesn’t seem to be eating as well or dad struggles to open his bottle of medication and misses a dose. An assisted living community might be a possible option to consider for aging parents.
Families have one common goal: finding the ‘perfect’ assisted living community for their aging loved one. Understandably, this process may be emotional and overwhelming.
Where to begin?
For general information, families can start off by contacting their state department for health and senior services.
The next step would be to gather information and get referrals from friends and family who have already been through a similar process. Conduct online searches, including social media. Baby boomers age 65 and older make up the largest demographic on Facebook, and YouTube is used by 85 percent of boomers. Look for reviews. Research shows that 72 percent of customers trust the reviews they read online to help in their next step of the decision making process.
There’s no such thing as a wrong or embarrassing question. Ask questions that get at the heart of understanding what a day would be like at a senior community: How many meals are provided each day? What is the programming like and is it personalized for each resident? Can I meet with community team members?
The following questions are recommended: How did you do on your most recent state survey? Can you give me some referrals to call regarding your care and service? How long have you been in business? How long has the staff been employed? What do you offer that is different from the other companies I am calling? What is this going to cost me? What if I am unhappy? What are my options?
Involve your parent, narrow down choices
Touring assisted living communities can be exhausting. Make sure you do your due diligence first, before you introduce your parents to hour-long tours and 21 questions. Once you’ve toured several communities, narrow it down to two or three and then empower your parent to make the decision. By asking your loved one to weigh out the pros and cons encourages independence and ensures they are the ultimate decision-makers when identifying their new home.
When seniors are part of deciding on the solution to their problem, ‘of their own free will’ — before being in a situation where someone else has to make it for them — they feel they are still managing their own future. This sense of being in control is extremely important and makes for a better situation for everyone involved.
Find the right community
Find a community that encourages independence in a way that will resonate with your loved one. If your parents enjoy their pets, a specific type of exercise or participating in activities that involve the local neighborhood, find a community that won’t expect them to give up what they value.
When entering an assisted living community, take a look at the associates. If they are happy and accommodating and the atmosphere feels good, this is a sign of a happy senior community.
Paying for services
Another popular question is how to pay for these services. It’s best to figure out your financial situation first so you can find a company that can meet your income level. For private pay situations, the senior’s money is sometimes tied up in their home, so some people sell their home, refinance or do a reverse mortgage. Other people (buy) long term care insurance. Another option is to look into the qualifications for VA benefits. The last option, if financial resources are low, is applying for Medicaid.
Assisted Living Residences
An assisted living residence can accommodate people with limited mobility and diminished capacity. Support services are offered on a 24-hour basis. Personal care, medication management, housekeeping and social and recreation activities are also provided.
For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.