My father-in-law moved to Assisted Living after he had a stroke
and was unable to keep up with grocery shopping, cooking, and
housekeeping. Each person has his or her own reasons for making
the Assisted Living decision. What is Assisted Living?
Thomas Day defines it
in a National Care Planning Council website article, “About
Assisted Living.” He says it’s an umbrella term
that covers a variety of long-term services. Each state has
its own definition and regulations vary widely. The terminology
varies as well.
According to Day, Assisted
Living is also called Residential Care, Personal Care, Adult
Congregate Living, Board and Care, supported Care, Enhanced
Care, Adult Homes, Sheltered Housing, Retirement Residences,
Adult Foster Care, and Community-Based Retirement Facilities.
The various terms and services can be confusing.
Some choose Assisted
Living because of health problems, such as Parkinson’s
disease. Others choose it to escape the isolation of living
alone. Still others are tired of maintaining a home and the
hassle that goes with it. Timing can be the difference between
happiness and discontent.
The marketing director
of my father-in-law’s high rise said the waiting list
was 10 years out. “Most
people make the Assisted Living decision too late,”
he commented. “You should move in when you can still enjoy
the activities program.” Learning about Assisted Living
isn’t something you do on a weekend; it takes time.
Mayo Clinic discusses
timing in a website article, “Long Term Care: Early Planning
Pays Off.” The article tells people to start the search
early. “If you wait, an injury or illness might force
your hand – leading to a hasty decision that might not
be best in the long run,” the article notes.
While there are many
Assisted Living facilities in my home town of Rochester, MN,
people are competing for them. Many move here because it’s
the home of Mayo Clinic. In order to get an attractive, homey
place, people must allow enough lead time.
Facilities: Tips for Choosing a Facility and Making a Transition,”
an article on the Help Guide website, says you should look for
a place that feels like home. “Don’t place too much
emphasis on surface appeal, such as designer furnishings, gourmet
meals, and impeccable grounds,” the article advises.
These tips will help
you make the Assisted Living decision and also save time.
• Tour the facility.
Dad had visited friends and had dinner with them, but he had
never toured the facility. We arranged for a tour that included
visiting sample apartments.
• Start a file.
Keep brochures, booklets, floor plans, cost sheets, and receipts
in a large envelope or folder.
• Ask about extras.
While extra services are available, they kite monthly expenses.
Parking may cost extra, for example.
• Observe staff
in action. Is the staff courteous? Do they respond quickly?
How are medical emergencies handled?
• Talk with residents.
The best people who give you reviews are the ones who live there.
Ask about the food, housekeeping, activities, and other things
that impact their lives.
• Does the facility
meet health/safety requirements? Check the staff-resident ratio,
emergency exists, number of elevators, and evacuation plan.
• Compare the
costs. The cost of a unit depends on size and services. Different
payment plans may also be available.
Copyright © 2012
by Harriet Hodgson
- Article by Harriet
Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory