There are some momentous events in the life of elderly loved one or a family caregiver. Yet, few can compare to the moment when your elderly loved one moves out of their home and into an assisted living facility. It can be a very emotional time for all. If your elderly loved one has been living in the same house for decades, there is a bond with that place that runs very deep. The discussion with your elderly loved one about the prospect of moving to an assisted care facility can be difficult, and it may be something that has been thought about for a long time either by them, you or both of you.
Once the decision has been made, the next major step is to find a facility that would be just the right fit. It can be a tough and confusing time since there are a number of factors that go into making a decision about where your loved one will live. When you set out on the journey of finding your loved one’s new residence, it is a good idea to spend time in advance creating a checklist of what you are looking for. It’s an even better idea to include your elderly loved one in the conversation if they are open to that idea. The ultimate goal for your elderly loved one is that when they move from their home to a facility, they truly are going to a better place for them for their current phase of life.
When you tour the facility, here are some things to consider in terms of appropriate fit:
The design of the facility. An assisted care facility for an elderly population can be very different from a general apartment complex. There should be indications of safety, care, emergency preparedness, and comfort throughout the facilities
Is the lighting good?
Are the communal rooms clearly marked?
Are there comfortable, inviting places to sit?
Does the elevator provide adequate time to get in and out before the doors closed?
Are staff members easily found should questions arise?
The community. One of the appealing aspects of assisted living is that there will be other elderly around so there are opportunities to have more human contact in order to combat loneliness. The facility can do a lot to address loneliness with regular social events for its residents. A suggested step is to interview some of the residents in order to get a feel for their friendliness and if there are people there your elderly loved one would enjoy spending time with. You might even be able to arrange for your elderly loved one to spend a day or a weekend at the facility to get a feel for what it will be like to live there.
Proximity. Where the facility is physically located is an important factor to consider. Some family members want their elderly loved one to be located a stone’s throw away. Other family members are willing to commute to visit their elderly loved one if the facility is a better match. There is no right or wrong decision regarding the proximity of the facility, but the location should be part of the decision.
A parting note: the journey into securing safe living accommodations that can meet the needs of an elderly loved one is not an easy task. In addition, as an elderly loved one continues to age, their needs in terms of care may change as well. This, in turn, may lead to changes in placement. It’s good to adopt the mindset that the facility will be a good fit until it can no longer meet the needs of the elderly loved one; then it will be time to consider a change.