The Most Important Step in Choosing Assisted Living

Lori-Ann and her father

Lori-Ann and her father

As many of you know, my proud father and I struggled through the process of making decisions about assisted living options for him.  I learned a lot from this experience.

If the time comes that your loved one needs to enter assisted living, there are many considerations to be made. You may be thinking about location, dietary needs, activities, and packing up their house.

Remember, though, to also think about your loved one. The person who is moving into assisted living will probably be dealing with a lot of emotions. They may be worried. They may be grieving the loss of their mobility or their independence.  My dad loved his little condo and was heartbroken to know he could not live there by himself any longer.

It’s important to talk to to your loved one throughout the process. You may want to include your siblings in the conversation, but then you need to go talk to you loved one. Let your loved one know what the doctors have recommended. Let him or her know that you need to make a decision.

If possible, bring your loved one with you to the assisted living facilities when you tour them. Let them be involved in deciding which place suits their needs and budget.

This may be a tough transition for them. The more you can involve them in the process, the more in control they might feel. Lastly, always remember, there is no perfect living arrangement as someone ages.  Just knowing this will allow you to weigh and balance all the options.

I’d love to hear about your family’s experience with assisted living.  Please leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram.

Want to know more about preparing for assisted living? Check out my book Easy Healthcare: Choosing an Assisted Living Facility.

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4 thoughts on “The Most Important Step in Choosing Assisted Living

  1. My siblings and I have decided that our dad should go and lie in an assisted living facility, because he is starting to get more and more dependent on us. I definitely think that it will be important for us to take him with us when we tour different facilities and let his opinions be valued. However, my siblings and I are very nervous about how soon we should get him into a facility after we tell him. How fast do you think that transition should be?

    • What a great question! This often varies depending on your dad’s condition. It is often true that seniors do not do well with uncertainty. They thrive on structure. You might want to sit down with your dad and explain the process and how long it will take. Also, check with the facility and find out if they have an open room. For my dad, we needed to put him on a wait list so he couldn’t move in right away. This was fine for us since it took a while for my dad to become comfortable with the idea of moving into the assisted living facility. But the most important thing is to have open communication and make sure all his questions get answered. I always suggest going to the facility several times. Make sure you have a meal there. The more your dad is involved in the decision the better the move will go. Good luck! Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you again! I’ll be thinking “good thoughts” for you and your family.

  2. I love the idea of taking your elderly loved one with you to tour the facilities. That way they can have a good say in which they like the best, and you can see how they fit in. My mother is reaching an age that makes it difficult to live on her own, so we are thinking about finding the right assisted living home for her. I know I would want her to love the place she ends up, so taking her on tours seems like a great idea.

    • Burt,
      I’m sorry to hear your mother is at that stage in her life. However, this is also a very exciting and freeing time. Going on a tour is an excellent idea! It’s not only helpful for her but for you as well. Like you said, it’s important that she loves the place she ends up in, but it’s also important that you feel comfortable with her being there. You want her to be well taken care of and touring places several times before choosing one will help put your mind at ease. It’s important that you visit each facility a couple of times. Go at different times of the day; don’t only go in the afternoon. Try and go later in the evening when the night shift people are there. It’s important that you get a feel for all staff members. The day shift workers may be great but the night shift workers may be a little less attentive. And pay attention to a lot of things when you’re there; cleanliness, staff members attitude and rapport with other residents, as well as response time. One thing I find extremely important is how quickly staff responds in an emergency or need based situation. If the rooms have a call light hit it and see how long it takes for someone to come. It should not take very long. If it does that may not be the place for your loved one. Also, make sure you stay and eat a meal while touring the facility. See how the food quality is, are they providing well balanced meals and if they kitchen staff is open to ideas. I hope these tips have been helpful for you. This should be a great experience for your mom, it will allow her to make new friends and find companionship. It will also provide you the peace of mind that she is safe and well taken care of.

      Best of luck,
      Lori-Ann Rickard at MyHealthSpin