Choosing an Assisted Living Community: Crisis or Controlled Decision? Which would you or your parents prefer?
Can you imagine being told that you have to find an assisted living apartment to move into by Tuesday and today is Friday? This scenario happens frequently in Care Centers with rehabilitation wings, otherwise known as Transitional Care Units (TCUs).
If you have elderly parents or loved ones, starting conversations early about their housing wishes is a wise decision. Over 90 percent of seniors 65 and older want to remain in their own home. However, research shows that about two-thirds of seniors are unable to do so because they need assistance performing activities of daily living (ADLs).
Having a “Plan B” is a good idea just in case your loved one becomes unable to continue to live in their home. If a friend or loved one experiences a fall or becomes hospitalized, it may be a good time to start a conversation with your own parent. This conversation might go something like this: “Mom, I know that (insert name) fell and I’m not sure if she’s going to be able come back home after she recovers. If something like that were to happen to you, have you thought about what you would like to do?”
Many times a crisis occurs and there hasn’t been a conversation about what the older adult would prefer. In a crisis the senior’s options and choices are not always clear. The senior is already in a stressful situation and there isn’t the time to discover and have the control over the outcome. Even though many assisted living facilities today have vacancies, not all of them will have vacancies when your loved one needs it. If memory care is needed, finding a good option can be even more difficult. Ideally, the decision-making process of choosing a new residence should be made over a month or more. Comparing three to five communities is recommended. Narrow your choice after the initial visits and then go for a second visit. Most communities can arrange to have you dine with one of their residents so you can find out how they like living in the community.
Key areas to focus on are:
Staffing: What is the resident to staff ratio? Are the staff employees’ or contracted from outside agencies?
Costs: Rent and care. All senior communities charge differently so it is important to make sure one is comparing apples to apples. Find out if the community takes medical assistance if funds become depleted. If not, does the community ask the resident to move out if funds are depleted?
Food and Nutrition: Does the organization have a chef and dietitian on staff and can they accommodate special diets?
Care levels: Is this community able to accommodate a two person transfer or one-on-one care if needed?
Choice Connections advocates for seniors and assists them to have more control and choice in a future home decision should they need one. Choice Connections is a free referral service offering unbiased personalized advice to help seniors and their families find the best option in senior housing when home is no longer the best choice. Choice Connections is often called upon in crisis situations and can save time and energy as we are experts on local options. We also put on Senior Parade of Homes to help seniors have a “Plan B”. Contact 651-261-5379 or e-mail ENeubaeur@choiceconnections.com or visit the website www.choiceconnections.com/twincitiessouthmetro for more information.