It is an inevitable season of life, the age when parent and child roles reverse, and it is the children taking care of their parents. When every day tasks become too difficult or dangerous for your parents, more assistance is required to keep them safe and healthy. Some families can absorb this need within by having their parents move in with them. Some opt to hire a care provider when family is not available, but the majority of families are not able to provide this kind of care, especially if their parent needs assistance all hours of the day and night. Assisted living communities are the best solution for many families. This can be a difficult decision, but there are some steps you can take to insure you are making the best choice for your parents.
Include Them In The Decision Process
If possible, let your parents be involved in the decision. The level to which they are involved will greatly depend on their willingness to live in assisted living. Remind them that this does not remove all independence. The hope is that having assistance available will make their days easier, decrease their risk of injury, and keep them as independent as possible for longer enjoying a greater quality of life..
Do Your Homework
It will be less overwhelming to your parents if you have done your homework on available communities and present them with the best options. A good place to start is location and price. Affordability can depend on several factors and vary from place to place. Be sure to check into special pricing such as veteran’s benefits or any discount pricing on specific suites. Ask many questions, get a monthly total cost for the community, and compare it to your parents’ monthly budget. You may need to consider selling your parents’ house or cashing an insurance policy.
Take time to visit. Ask questions. Visit by appointment, and then follow up with an unannounced visit to compare your observations. See what activities are available on site and what services and activities are offered through the community’s transportation service. What are the varying levels of assistance offered? What services are an added cost? Ask to sample the food. Talk to residents in the halls to gain their perspective; observe interaction between residents and staff. Remember to check licensing with your state. On site visitation will yield greater results than simply reading information from their brochure or website.
Now that you have done the legwork, you can present your finding to your parents. They may be struggling with the idea of leaving their home, but seeing that you have taken the time to thoroughly check out the assisted living sites will go a long way in assuring them that you care about their happiness and well being. Be sure to go on a visit with them when they have narrowed down their choice. Enjoy a meal together and interact with current residents. Most importantly, visit them often once they move. Assisted living is a wonderful service to families, but it doesn’t take the place of family. Be involved, get to know your parents’ care takers, and enjoy the years ahead together.