How I Helped My Dad Choose Assisted Living

DadMePortraitMy dad, Rev. William “Tex” Rickard was a United Methodist pastor, an athlete, a jokester, father to six amazing children and an all-around great guy. He could watch a ball game with you or listen to your deepest fears. He helped me — a single mom — raise my two beautiful girls and our crazy dog, Chloe.

My dad took very good care of himself for his whole life, so we were unprepared when he had emergency back surgery at the age of 88 years.

This was tough for me, but even more so for him. After all, as a proud, strong minister, he took care of other people. He didn’t need people to care for him. After so many years of independence, we decided the best plan was to move him into an assisted living facility.

We approached the move directly by taking time to do a few things: 

  1. Tour the local facilities.
  2. Make a list of costs and services.
  3. Talk to staff to find out how they interact with residents.
  4. Eat at the facility to see how the food was and to get a sense of community at meal times.

We learned a lot during a journey. We made some good choices along the way and also some mistakes. Our most important lesson was that communication is the key.

When preparing to move a loved one to an assisted living facility, you and your loved one have to be prepared to communicate with your family and the facility about your priorities. There is no one right answer. You have to decide what will work best for your loved one.

To help guide your decision about assisted living, I have written Easy Healthcare: Choosing an Assisted Living Facility, available in book and ebook format. It tells you what conversations to have, what to consider as you research facilities and how to make the experience as smooth as possible for you and your loved one.

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