By Judy Morton
Choosing the perfect assisted living facility for your parents can be a daunting journey filled with stress, confusion, and awkward moments. Here, I share my personal experiences to shed light on this challenging process.
Sharing intimate details about your family members, such as their likes, dislikes, habits, personalities, and hobbies, with complete strangers can feel intrusive. Yet, this is a necessary step when searching for the ideal assisted living facility.
A mere walkthrough, a glance at rooms, and a collection of brochures and price lists won't suffice. You must immerse yourself in the environment to gauge if it resonates with your parents' personalities.
The sheer volume of questions to ask can be overwhelming, and it's easy to forget crucial ones that might prove significant later on. The uncertainty of "what ifs" and potential scenarios adds another layer of complexity. Is this facility suitable for the long term, regardless of future developments, or merely a temporary solution?
Recently, my family and I spent an afternoon conversing with a marketing representative from an assisted living facility. We selected this particular one for several compelling reasons:
- Ownership by a reputable company with multiple locations; my mother previously enjoyed a year in one of their independent apartment communities, lamenting her departure when transitioning to assisted living.
- Convenient proximity, reducing our taxing 90-mile round trip to check on my husband's parents to a mere 10 minutes away, with multiple freeway-free routes.
- The presence of a separate dementia/memory care facility behind the assisted living building, which could prove invaluable in the future.
All these facilities are eager to engage with you. They'd be delighted for you to schedule an appointment to receive their well-practiced sales pitch. Their marketing materials are replete with glossy brochures, beautifully illustrated booklets, and folders showcasing a plethora of services, adorned with images of well-appointed rooms and beaming residents.
Their selling points are rehearsed and ready, all geared towards convincing you that theirs is the ultimate destination for your loved one. However, I may be their worst nightmare. My family and I arrive unannounced and unprepared. We politely request a tour and don't provide them with any time to prepare.
Armed with a camera and extensive checklists and page-long list of questions , we meticulously go through our evaluation process. I'm well-versed in the state's licensing requirements (Type A and Type B), but I demand answers to specific questions:
- How many rooms and residents are there?
- What's the staff-to-resident ratio?
- What are the turnover rates for both residents and staff?
- While the activities calendar may seem full, what about the care facilities?
- Is there a security system, emergency call system, and on-site medical personnel?
- What is the pre-admittance assessment process?
- Which pharmacy and hospital do they use?
- How is mail handled, and do residents have secure individual boxes or locking cabinets in their rooms?
- What are the shower facilities like?
Our goal is to ensure that the chosen place becomes a comfortable and happy home for my in-laws as they age gracefully. Though I've undertaken this journey before for my own mother, I recognize that what worked for her may not suit my husband's parents.
The facility we explored today appears promising, and we have several others to assess, along with home care alternatives. We've taken the first steps in this challenging process.
I'd like to share an invaluable resource: Texas Attorney General website offers excellent tips for selecting a nursing home or long-term care facility, complete with a comprehensive list of factors to consider and questions to ask. While specific licensing regulations may vary by state, this information proves valuable, regardless of your location.
For more guidance on the next steps, we plan to enlist the expertise of Diane Carbo, RN, to provide a different perspective on our journey. The process of moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home involves several crucial steps, each requiring careful consideration.
Meet Judy Morton
Convincing Parents they need Assisted Living Part 1
Moving Aging Parents : Decluttering for Assisted Living
Nursing Home Compare Alert
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