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If the time to decide where to have mom and pops live is coming quickly upon you, then the best place to start is to ask your parents what they want. For most elderly folk, they are going from a life of independence to a life where there is assistance when it is needed. This can be a new experience for a lot of people and there are many different ways that they can react. Some are excited about the possibilities that come with living in a senior facility. Others may lash out while feeling as though their privacy is being encroached upon. Do not be upset with how the elderly respond to these new situations and do attempt to be understanding if they are having difficulties adapting. Senior living is simply a different way of living.
If your parents are unsure of what they want or aren’t certain where to begin, there are a few key points to consider.
It’s probably no surprise that senior living would come with a price tag. The national median cost for assisted living is $4,000 per month, which is surprisingly high no matter which state you live in. This does account for the services provided by the facility and the staff but the cost will most likely play a major role in the decision-making process. A facility with a higher bill per month will likely be more luxurious but there are several factors that go into play when it comes to senior living and there is not always a correlation of cost to quality.
Another key detail to keep an eye out for is the staffing of the facility. If mom or dad had a question or concern, would they feel safe to bring it up with a staff member? It might even be a good idea to ask about the turnover rate in staff. If there is a high turnover rate, your parents may hardly be able to keep all the new faces straight when they need someone to turn to. When visiting a facility, keep an eye out for how the staff treats the residents. This may be a deal-breaker for many parents.
The space that your parents will occupy will also be a large determining factor in the decision. Consider the personal space that they would be living in. Is it bigger or smaller than the space they currently live in and does that matter? Is there a lot of room for foot traffic or would they need to shuffle around furniture once it’s moved in?
Also, consider common spaces that are available. Your parents will be living with residents that they may not be familiar with. Do the common spaces in the facility allow for bonding activities? What is the overall feel of the common space? If it feels too drab or hospitalized, it may not be the best fit for your older family members. However, remember to keep their opinion in mind in case they express otherwise.
This is an incredibly important part of finding the perfect match! If the food isn’t good, it should not even be an option to consider. This will be food that will be eaten by your family for the rest of their lives. Take care that the quality is better than prison food. Many facilities will actually try to compete with local restaurants so also keep the cost of food in mind. Does the facility have a charge on the food and if so, how much? Meal plans are also not uncommon and are oddly reminiscent of college days.
What type of activities will be available for mom and dad to do? If the activities are things that your parents don’t typically like, perhaps seek out a different facility. A wildly popular senior activity is Bingo. Bingo, for example, is a great activity that stimulates the mind and engages individuals in the community. The types of activities play a surprisingly important role in senior living.
The community that you place your parents in will also be a huge factor in the decision. When your mom and/or dad move to the new facility, it will be a change in environment and group of people they are surrounded by. Some facilities may be religion-specific such as a Christian Senior Living Facility so be aware of what community your parents will be surrounded by 24/7.
This last point is not one that many people think of but transportation is also something worth considering. Some facilities will have transportation to and from the facility grounds. This can be a very liberating option for some elderly folk who want to go out like they used to before the change. If you watch, you will notice there are a large variety of buses that take seniors wherever they desire. There are even buses that take seniors to medical appointments and the hair stylist.
When you are finally ready to make the decision and your parents are as happy as they can be despite the overall circumstance, then take a final tour of the new home and make sure it meets all your criteria that is essential to you and your family. Make a checklist beforehand or you can even take a premade one that covers the basics.
Know the Contract
This should be common sense, but it is so very important to know what the contract consists of. There are so many different types of contracts for assisted senior living that it can be easy to become confused. Taking the time to examine the contract prior to signing will not do you harm. Be sure to request a hard copy of the contract once the signing is done. Unfortunately, people are human and mistakes can happen. It is always better to cover your assets and protect yourself and your family against any misdeeds.
Overall, picking a senior living facility for your mom and/or dad is not as daunting as it seems. There are many factors to consider and points of view to take into account, but the end result will be better fo you and your family. And the better quality of life your family has, the less likely you will need to worry about the care your family is under. Take each step at your own pace and keep in mind that ultimately it will be your elderly parent living in the new home.