How to Choose an Assisted Living Facility

Do you have a loved one who needs to move to an assisted living facility? There are so many options these days with a range of services provided. How do you choose the one that is right for your family member? Here are a few tips.

1. Involve Your Loved One
This may be a big change for them, one that they may be ready for or nervous about. It will be very different than living in their home with a lot of space and all of their furniture and lifelong treasures. But, this is going to be their new home for some time. Include your loved one in conversations and visits to the facility to help them feel involved in the process.

2. Explore Room Types
Ask the facility what kinds of rooms are available and ask to see them. The options may include single rooms, rooms that have a roommate, single rooms that share a bathroom and/or a kitchen, or larger apartments with a bedroom, kitchen, and a living room area. Facilities vary on the type of rooms they have. Also, be sure to ask what is available at the time of the move in. You want to make sure your loved one is getting the right living space for them and keep an open mind. They may start off thinking they want a single room but actually end up loving having a roommate as they have some company. Everyone is different.

3. Ask About Costs
This may go without saying, but one of the main questions to ask about costs. Be sure the facility representative lets you know about all of the costs associated with living there. What is the cost for each type of room? Are there dining fees, housekeeping fees, or activity fees? When you have a list, ask, “Are there any other fees?” Then be sure to choose the facility and options that fit your loved one’s budget, as well as their needs. Although your loved one may want a large single room, it may be cost prohibitive.

4. Visit at Different Times
If possible, visit the facilities you are considering at different times of day and different days of the week. This will give you a good idea of what your loved one can expect about noise level, activity, available services, and so on.

5. Consider Roommates
If your loved one is considering a roommate, inquire about the medical condition of the person to determine if their medical or other needs may disturb your loved one. For example, if the roommate requires help going to the bathroom and has to go frequently, this may disturb your loved one’s rest. The roommate may talk a lot and your loved one may prefer quiet. Make sure the pairing is a good fit.

6. Room Location
Consider where the room is located within the facility. If your loved one needs a lot of assistance or has many medical needs, you might want to choose a room that is close to the staff desk or the nurses’ station. If, however, your loved one does not like a lot of noise, you may want to pick a room that is located away from the main hallways or staff stations.

7. Choose Furniture
Once you have chosen a room, you should talk to your loved one about what furniture they would like to bring from their home. The facility may offer to provide furniture for the room. If possible, you should try to bring at least a few “important” pieces of furniture from your loved one’s home. The Assisted Living facility will be new and unfamiliar. Your loved one may be apprehensive about moving. Having the room look and feel as much like home as possible will help with the transition.

8. Determine the Change Policy Finally, it is important to find out what your options are if your loved one does not like the room they have selected. Will they be able to move without an extra charge? Whatever the policy, get it in writing from the facility
Preparation and planning will help your loved one’s move to an assisted living facility be successful.

assisted_smallHow do you make the right decision about moving yourself or a loved one into an Assisted Living Facility without being overwhelmed? How do you even begin talking about it? MyHealthSpin’s “Easy Healthcare: Choosing an Assisted Living Facility” ebook guide gives you all of the practical advice you need to make the right choice.

Available for download NOW!

Your Aging Parent Doesn’t Want to Go to a Nursing Home… Now What?

I’m sure your parents have probably said it to you, or maybe you’re even saying it now to your kids, “Whatever you do, don’t put me in a nursing home!” However, this can put you in a tough spot. If your parent is aging and needs more help, one of the safest places for them is a nursing home or a senior living facility. But if your parent is adamant about staying out of a nursing home, you do have other options. Here are four alternatives to nursing homes.
 
Assisted living
Technically speaking, assisted living facilities are not the same thing as nursing homes. Assisted livings typically have several levels of care depending on the residents needs, whereas nursing homes usually provide a higher level of care. In many assisted living facilities, residents can come and go as they please and, in some, can even have their own car. Yet there’s staff there to help them with activities of daily living, such as brushing their teeth and getting dressed. But, if your loved one views nursing homes and assisted livings as the same, this may be a hard one to convince them of.
Independent living and senior apartments
There are a lot of senior living communities that offer independent living and senior apartments. These allow your loved one to have their own space with their own private entry, and they can come and go as they please. The advantage to these kinds of apartments is that your loved one won’t have to worry about maintenance like they would at a home. These often have communal areas where seniors can meet, play cards, and eat their meals. Therefore, they still get the activity, and they will have the ability to make new friends, but they also have their privacy.
 
In-home care
In-home care is a great alternative to a nursing home. Your loved one has all of the comforts of being at home and the one-on-one care they deserve. Most elderly people have a hard time leaving their home and adjusting to a new place, so this is a great option.
Hospice
Hospice is for end-of-life care, but you don’t need to be in the hospital to receive it. You can be on hospice in your home. The purpose of hospice is to keep those who are dying comfortable, provide them peace, as well as assist their families through a difficult time.
Want to learn more about assisted living facilities? Get my book Easy Healthcare: Assisted Living. It’s filled with tips about finding the right assisted living facility for your loved one and moving in.

What To Do If Your Seniors Care Level Changes

bigstock-Health-care-worker-helping-an-94780445-1024x439-cropYesterday we completed another successful webinar on assisted living. I really appreciate all of you taking time out of your afternoon to tune in!

We received so many excellent questions during our webinar, however, due to time restrictions, we were unable to get to them all. So today, I wanted to take time to answer an important question that came up.

“What do I do if my seniors level of care changes while in an assisted living facility?”

Often times, seniors move in to an assisted living facility because they need temporary help–for instance, while rehabbing after falling and breaking a hip. They go in with intentions of returning to their home after a few short weeks. Sadly, this is not always the case. Health has a tendency to deteriorate after traumatic events, and suddenly a temporary living arrangement can become a permanent home.

I went through this with my dad. We had made arrangements for him to move in to an assisted living facility for a short while after having a routine procedure done. Beforehand he was the picture of health. Even driving three hours one way to pick up my daughter at college the day before. However, the procedure was harder on him than expected, and he ended up staying in the assisted living. Luckily, we had chosen a facility where his level of care could change as he needed more assistance. However, not all assisted living facilities have these options.

In order to help guide you through this difficult time, I have put together some helpful tips to consider if your seniors care levels change.

First, when choosing a facility, even if it is for a temporary situation, it is a good idea to choose one that has the ability to step up. Most facilities have several divisions: one for those who need minimal assistance, one for those who need some assistance and have slight memory problems, and one for those who need full assistance and have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is important that the facility is able to grow with your seniors ever-changing needs. Not only will it make things easier on them, but it will put less stress on you.

Another important thing you should do when visiting assisted living facilities or nursing homes is bring a comparison chart. In my workbook When Life Happens, I have put together a helpful chart to bring with you to help weigh the pros and cons of each place you visit.

Second, it is likely that the facility, or its staff, will come to you first about needing to change your seniors level of care. They spend time with your loved one every day. Therefore, they know what changes need to be made. This is why it is important to have a specific family member designated to working with the staff. This way your seniors’ needs are taken care of right away. You would not want them receiving improper care because they are no longer able to do certain things on their own.

Third, once a need for change has been established, you should set up an appointment with a geriatric professional to determine exactly what you can do to help your senior. Most facilities work with physical therapists, occupational therapists and social workers who can do an evaluation of your loved ones’ ability to perform their necessary activities of daily living. Can they get themselves to the bathroom on their own? Do they need assistance taking their medications? As they become less able to care for themselves they will become more reliant on the staff members, and their care level will be increased.

Fourth, go in with an open mind. It is hard to watch your parents age, and often times we do not see the obvious signs because we are in denial. Therefore, it is important to always have an open line of communication with the assisted living facility that your loved one is in. Like I said previously, the staff are going to tell you when their care level needs to be changed. So keep your mind open and listen to their advice. These people are trained professionals and they know what they are doing. You must also keep in mind that has need for care increases, so does the cost. Do not let the cost of upping their care be a deciding factor in the changes that you make for your loved one.

Fifth, remember that your loved one is getting older, and as you get older you do not get better. Thus, you need to have an open conversation with them in regards to their plans for the future. Where do they want to go? What can they afford? This will make it much easier on you when the time comes that they need a little extra help.

For more healthcare tips for you and your family, check out my workbook for dealing with caring for your children as well as your aging parents: Life in Sandwich Generation. Life in the Sandwich Generation is a workbook filled with information, tips and tricks for managing the demands needing to care for your aging parents, as well as taking care of your children. It details how you can involve your children in the process, how to learn more about your parents health and finances, while still making time for yourself and your spouse. You can find it here for only $10!