It’s a situation that most people find themselves in during their life. You need support with your aging parent. Your parent needs to feel independent.
Knowing when it’s time for a parent to move into an assisted-living facility isn’t always crystal clear. There’s often resistance from the parent, doubt on the caregiver’s side, and other things to consider, such as money and location.
But one thing is for sure: when you find the right assisted-living facility, it will make your parent’s life – and yours – much easier and more enjoyable. The key is to find the best match for your situation so that everyone feels happy with the arrangement.
The following are some tips from the U.S. Administration on Aging on finding the appropriate assisted-living facility for your loved one.
- Look around. Visit more than one facility. And visit each facility more than once at different times. You want to make sure you’re seeing the things that are most important to you.
- Visit during meal times, and sample some food. Check out the atmosphere in the dining hall. See if you think your parent will feel comfortable and enjoy his or her eating experience.
- Speak to the residents. Do they seem happy? Ask their opinion of the facility. Pay attention to what they have to say, and ask specific questions related to your parent’s situation.
- Watch how the residents and staff interact. See if there’s a good rapport among the staff members, and look closely at how they talk to the residents.
- You’re looking for things like mutual respect, kindness and physical strength to help when necessary. It’s important for your loved one to be around people who take their jobs seriously, love what they do and have a sense of caring.
- Ask for a written statement of the facility’s philosophy of care. Go over this with your parent and see if he or she has any questions or concerns.
- Find out what kinds of social, recreational and spiritual activities are offered.
- Talk to your parent about the happenings, and pay close attention to his or her interests. This is the time to try something new!
- Review licensing reports and ask about retention policies. What sort of mental or physical disabilities would require moving your loved one to a different facility? Also, find out if the facility is connected to a nursing home.
- Call your state’s long-term-care ombudsman and your local Better Business Bureau. Ask about complaints filed against the facility.
Making the decision for a parent to move to an assisted-living facility can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding. You won’t always have all the answers, so do some research and give yourself a break if you need to make adjustments.
This is a joint effort between you and your parent. Keep the communication – and your eyes – open. Your parent appreciates the effort more than you might realize.
And remember, someone might be doing this for you one day.