Aging is a fact of life for us all. We all have an older relative who requires some extra help completing everyday tasks. If you and your family are not in a position to take care of your elderly relative on a consistent basis, it is recommended that you look into assisted living options, so that you have peace of mind that their needs are taken care of.
What is an Assisted Living Facility?
An assisted living facility is a residential facility for people who need assistance with everyday living. Other terms for assisted living facilities, which we are probably more familiar with, are ‘old people’s home’ or ‘nursing home’.
There are three main types of assisted living facilities that are distinguished by the level of care they provide: independent communities, assisted living, and nursing homes. Independent communities are for highly independent seniors in good health, assisted living is for seniors who cannot live entirely independently but don’t require around-the-clock care, and nursing homes are for seniors who generally have high care needs and often complex medical conditions.
The price of each is influenced by the level of care provided as well. Independent living communities are generally of lower cost (although cost is determined by the size of apartment chosen) and because of the staffing costs, nursing homes are the most expensive.
Independent living can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3500 per month depending on the price of housing in the area, the size of the individual’s living quarters, and the specifics pertaining to the care requested.
Assisted living can cost between $2500 and $4000 per month, depending on the size of apartment and level of care, and nursing homes cost between $4000 and $8000 per month because of the around-the-clock, professional nursing care provided.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Searching for an Assisted Living Facility
There are a number of common mistakes to avoid when searching for an assisted living facility. Finding out about them before you go through the official process of enrolling a senior in such a facility will save you a lot of stress and inconvenience:
It’s for Them, Not You
It’s tempting to assess an assisted living facility in accordance with your own comfort level, but you’re looking for a place for the senior in your life. The senior could have entirely different needs than your own. This is particularly relevant if you find a place you absolutely love, complete with a long list of amenities and special features. However, if the person who actually requires assisted living doesn’t require the additional features, don’t try to push them into it. If the senior in your life, for example, doesn’t use the internet, why on earth do you care if the facility has top-of-the-range Wi-fi capabilities?
Choosing Based on How Once Were
When it comes to caring for our relatives, part of us is always emotionally involved. Allowing your emotions to take the reins when you’re deciding what assisted living facility your relative will benefit from is unwise. Also, grasping on tightly to how they used to be will do little but diminish the quality of care you choose. If, for example, your relative suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, you need to stop visualizing them as they were before they contracted the disease. The sad truth is that their memory is deteriorating over time, and so the things they loved to do a decade ago shouldn’t enter into the decision-making process. If your relative used to be the life and soul of the party, and loved to socialize, but is now withdrawn and antisocial, don’t choose an assisted living facility with a second-to-none community feel just because you think you can force your relative out of their shell.
Similarly, choosing an assisted living facility with a swimming-pool when the senior in your life no longer has the mobility level required to get in and out of the pool is unrealistic, and could even cause your relative to become upset when thinking about how mobile they used to be.
Rushing Into a Decision
It’s true that life is busy, and it can be tempting to choose the first facility you visit for a look around. Even if you’re impressed with the cleanliness and comfort of the first place you visit, you shouldn’t just rush into a decision because you feel you don’t have the time to spare at the weekends to have a look around other facilities. This is where your relative is going to spend the rest of their life, so do you not think that this decision deserves the same amount of shopping around we do when we’re buying car insurance? Take your time and arrange visitations to at least three facilities before making a final decision.
Judging a Book by its Cover
Just because a facility has fancy furniture and freshly-painted walls doesn’t necessarily mean they provide high-quality care. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being amazed at the contemporary decor and become oblivious to the more important elements. It’s much more important that the staff are friendly and genuinely love looking after people, for one. If you take a look around an assisted living facility with the senior in your life, and express awe at the fountain in the garden while ignoring the fact that the staff walk around with thunderous faces, you’re guilty of judging a book by its cover. Similarly, a facility that could do with a bit of updating, but has staff who smile and chat to you as if you’re old friends, could be the best place available despite the outdated curtain fabric.
The points above introduce you to the world of assisted living, and aim to help you find a suitable one for the elderly person in your life who requires care. Now that you’ve considered this introductory post, it’s recommended that you examine assisted living in depth. Doing so will allow you to be confident and at ease when assessing assisted living options in your area.