At a certain point in life, seniors require more support and care due to aging, Alzheimer’s and dementia, or other diseases. In situations where seniors are having significant difficulty safely caring for themselves, assisted living care is an option.
Accepting that your loved one needs the additional support that an assisted living facility can provide can rouse a number of emotions. It is a decision that has likely been reached after multiple weeks or months of consulting with family members and other caregivers. Feeling conflicted about entrusting your loved one to the care of an assisted living facility is both normal and natural. However, considering what is the best and safest care option should ultimately determine the final decision.
How to Choose an Assisted Living Facility for a Senior
Once you have determined that it is in your loved one’s best interests to utilize assisted living care, you need to carefully evaluate all of the options in order to make sure that you select the right assisted living community for him or her.
Unfamiliarity with how the assisted living process works can result in feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and confused. In this article, the process of choosing the right assisted living facility will be explored, as well as providing information about useful strategies that can aid in the transition process.
Why is it So Important to Identify the Right Assisted Living Facility?
Identifying the right facility for a loved one is of the utmost importance. The assisted living facility’s Care Team, facility design, and approach to resident care will impact every aspect of their daily lives. The Care Team will be charged with providing safe and nurturing support, a facility’s design can greatly increase or decrease the likelihood of a devastating fall, and its approach to resident care will determine the amount of individualized attention a senior resident receives.
Making The Decision to Move a Loved One into an Assisted Living Facility
It can be common for family members to want to care for a senior in either their own home, or in the resident of the senior. However, at a certain point, many seniors need more involved care beyond what can reasonably be provided in a private residential setting. The amount of care and supervision that is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of seniors may vary depending on a senior’s unique circumstances. But, electing the support of assisted living care will ensure that seniors are receiving the focused attention and safety supervision that is needed in order to allow for a senior to have the best quality of life possible.
Who Needs Assisted Living Facility Care?
One of the most common reasons for planning to transition a loved one into an assisted living facility has to do with lack of ability to accomplish activities of daily living. Activities of Daily Living are routine tasks that individuals do every day without assistance. There are six primary ADLs: dressing, toileting, walking, continence, bathing, and eating.
When a loved one displays signs of being unable to handle one or more of these, it may be appropriate for family members to think about moving the loved into an assisted living facility.
An assisted living facility could be the right choice if a loved one requires more personal care services than can be obtained at an independent living retirement community or at home. An assisted living level of care is frequently in between living at home and a nursing home. Assisted living often provides help with activities of daily living and is one step under nursing home level care.
An individual with advanced medical needs may require enhanced supervision and around the clock medical care. Those individuals who are barely able to take care of themselves are best served by visiting and staying in a nursing home, although those who require somewhat less help are often served well by assisted living. Assisted living allows the elderly individual to maintain more independence while also having access to support, if necessary.
What Signs to Watch For Indicating That My Loved One May Need Assisted Living?
Understanding that a loved one may need advanced help could require some time. The following red flags, however, could indicate that it’s a good time to discuss the possibility of an assisted living facility. These include:
- A parent forgetting things like taking their medication or how to get to doctor’s appointments.
- Signs of depression due to isolation and loneliness.
- Inappropriate or strange behavior, which is indicative of a loved one experiencing confusion.
- The refrigerator has no food or spoiled food and significant weight loss is a concern.
- Frequent bruises are apparent, which could indicate issues with mobility, balances problems or falling.
- A loved one who wears the same clothes every day or fails to complete personal hygiene tasks.
- The loved one seems unable to maintain a home.
Once these signs begin to present more frequently, you and other family members may want to have a conversation about the situation. Bear in mind that your loved one might not agree with your decision, but there is a point when you and other family members must do what is in your loved one’s best interests. Getting help could be critical for preventing accidents or other problems.
How to Choose the Right Assisted Living Facility for Someone with Advanced Care Needs
Assisted living facilities have a great deal of variation between one and another. This can be challenging for selecting the right facility, as you may find the process overwhelming. It is important to remember that there are many options, but that these can be narrowed down by carefully thinking about a loved one’s best interests.
One of the most important things to know is staffing patterns. In order to feel peace of mind and comfort that a loved one is taken care of well, asking questions about workload in an assisted living facility as well as the current staff level can identify which facilities can be removed from the list.
Some of the most important questions to ask during this time are:
- How do staff at a particular facility interact with the residents, or are they overburdened and unable to provide sincere interactions?
- How many individuals are on a shift at any given time?
- What is the nature of the interactions between staff members and residents?
- How are emergency situations handled?
- Do residents appear happy and well adjusted?
- Are there activities or groups on location that could appeal to a loved one?
What You Should Know About Evaluating the Facility
Evaluating the facility is equally important. Some of the critical questions to ask while visiting a facility include:
- What kind of meals are offered?
- Does the location seem safe and secure?
- Are the common and personal areas fresh and clean?
- Is housekeeping service provided at all?
While some information can be gleaned from reviewing the facility’s website, it’s always a good idea to schedule an in-person visit if you can. This will help you determine if this is the right place for your family member. Making the right choice for a loved one requires careful introspection and personal evaluation. A personal visit can reveal facilities that may offer the proper level of support for your loved one.
An in-person visit can also help you and even your loved one begin to imagine life there. Getting a sense of the general vibe of the place and the décor of the interior can make this difficult transition a little bit easier. You may even be able to help your loved one begin to imagine living here.
An in-person visit can also give you a great opportunity to see how other residents living there are doing. This kind of information cannot be easily spotted online, so schedule an in-person visit and speak to some residents, if you can.
Tips for Supporting Your Loved One For a Move to Assisted Living
Even with all parties are on the same page about the need for assisted living care, it is not always easy to prepare for this transition. A senior, particularly, if he or she is suffering from cognitive decline or other issues may resist moving to an assisted living facility or may have trouble adapting to new surroundings.
Family members can take several steps in order to make this transition as seamless as possible. These include:
- Visiting and calling often to check in.
- Acknowledging the feelings of lost independence, particularly as it relates to a long time family home or personal independence.
- Focus on personalizing the new living space, so that it feels as homely as possible.
- Walk through potential concerns with a loved one.
- Try to stay positive by focusing on the benefits of the facility.
An assisted living facility should be a place where a loved one can relax and receive the care he or she needs. Being concerned about a loved one as a result of the assisted living facility or staffing levels only adds further anxiety to the situation.
This is why it is strongly recommended that every potential assisted living facility be evaluated independently in order to determine the most appropriate location for a loved one. The senior should also feel safe, peaceful, and comfortable in the space. If several weeks or months have gone by and a loved one seems to be indicating difficulty adjusting in full or seems to show signs of abuse or neglect, a further conversation about the issue should be conducted.