Assisted Living for Loved Ones: How to Smooth the Transition to a Care Facility
Getting old can be difficult. Ask many elderly people and their answers are often similar. They don’t have the energy they once did. Their minds aren’t as quick anymore.
For a growing number of families, loved ones are beginning to show signs that it is no longer possible to live on their own in their own homes. Many seniors who have enjoyed independence for decades, are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves any longer. In some cases a family member can act as a caregiver. In other cases, non-family member caregivers can come into the home or the loved one can visit a care facility during the day.
Often though, at some point it becomes necessary for the loved one to make the move into an assisted living facility. Before making any major decisions, there are some ways to smooth the transition.
What are the Senior’s Needs?
There are a large number of seniors who choose to live in retirement communities. They may still be independent but their reasons for moving might be for companionship of others in the same age group or proximity to activities that they enjoy. Often retirement communities offer transportation to the residents.
Often senior citizens still want to keep most of their independence but do need caregivers on more of an up close and personal basis. Facilities are available that offer different levels of care, depending on each person’s needs. Dispensing medication, standing by during bathing and getting dressed, or a more hands-on caregiver who helps with feeding are all types of assistance that are possible, depending on the facility. Transportation to doctors and shopping as well as field trips are among the services offered by many assisted living facilities.
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Tour the Assisted Living Facility
Try to set up an appointment to tour a facility during meal time. Many times the family will be invited to eat lunch or breakfast to feel more a part of the group. It gives the family a chance to ask questions as well as meet some of the other residents. Get to know some of the caregivers who will be working with the loved one. Even if family members spend a lot of time at the loved one’s new home, the caregiver will be a large part of the loved one’s life.
For many people, the cost is a deciding factor in making the decision on what care facility to choose. Long-term insurance is for this purpose. Many people have supplemental short-term insurance, as well, to cover the grace period between moving in and when the long-term insurance kicks in. Some facilities take payments from the state for uninsured residents. Private pay is also a common method of payment. Make sure what needs to be paid upon move-in and what costs will be covered by insurance. If a Conservatorship and/or Power of Attorney is in place, the person with that duty may be in charge of making sure insurance information is in place and handling finances.
Time to Make the Move
Depending on the situation, there may be time between the decision to move and the actual move-in date. Some people choose to have some time to tie up loose ends in their old life before moving – perhaps enjoying the last days of living on their own. Others, if the decision hasn’t already been made by a doctor or family member, choose to move on as quickly as possible. Feelings of sadness about leaving the old life behind may linger for a while. But for a loved one as well as family members, an assisted living facility can allow new experiences and a chance to make some new friends that might not have been an option before. The change can also open up the possibilities of new relationships between family members.