In this sandwich generation many of us are caring for elderly parents while hosting fledgling children at the same time. We understand what it means to be caregivers. In any case, there may come a time when the family determines that an elderly family member can no longer live alone. Some of the determining issues will be personal safety, ability to manage daily functions such as bathing, cooking, home care, taking medications properly and on time, decision-making and ability to remember important dates and times. In some cases elders are able to remain in their own homes with an increased level of care from family members or perhaps the hiring of part-time licensed caregivers who come regularly to help with daily living chores. This can be an expensive choice, but if it affordable, it can be a satisfying one for everyone.
Once the decision has been made to find a new living situation for an elderly family member, the search begins for the right facility for your loved one. You can do a great deal of research before actually visiting facilities. You’ll want to look for a place near enough family members for visitation, one that is affordable, perhaps taking Medicare or Medicaid money, and you can talk to those who know the facility to get first-hand recommendations. Be sure to check with health care professionals in the community such as doctors, nurses and social workers for their input. Additionally, you are entitled to view periodic inspection reports made by state or federal officials. Ask for those when you visit selected sites.
When you visit a care facility there are many questions to ask and information to consider. Of course the general appearance and “feel” of the facility is extremely important. Your elder may want a smaller, cozier living situation, or may enjoy a large residence with a lot of activities going on all the time. You’ll most likely receive a packet of information discussing everything from daily activities to personal safety issues. Be sure to use a checklist of some sort to help you evaluate each facility you visit. You’re looking for a living situation that takes into account the social, emotional, mental and medical needs of your loved one. Is the facility clean and attractive? Does the staff take a personal interest in each member, is there a nurse on duty, does each member have a personalized care plan that is updated regularly? Are there interesting and fun activities? Does the food taste good and look appealing? Those and many other questions will need to be answered before making a final decision.
Another consideration in choosing a living facility for elders needing assistance in daily living is the long-term picture. Will your elder need a higher level of care in six months or a year? If that seems to be a possibility then you may take that into consideration when selecting the first living situation. Many facilities are built with the idea in mind that many of our elderly need an increased level of care over time. Some facilities have independent living wings, assisted living wings and dementia or Alzheimer’s units as necessary, making the difficult move to a higher level of care a bit easier.
Take a moment to think about the kind of living situation you would desire should it become unsafe or difficult to live on your own. Most of us would prefer to live independently, but many of the assisted living situations available today are much like living in a lovely apartment building. Add to that three nice meals each day cooked by someone else, weekly housekeeping help and lots of social opportunities and living in an assisted living facility begins to sound quite nice. If you have a family member who may need to move into a higher level of care, take a look at this websites to begin your search for a new living arrangement: