Many of us will, at some point, come to the realization that we can no longer care for ourselves at home and will make the move to an assisted living community. Or, perhaps, you are dealing with a loved one who is faced with this reality.
While this can be a challenging time, there are things that can be done to help ease the transition and actually turn it into a positive experience.
Giving up the independence of a private home is always difficult, but continuing to live there when you are no longer capable – be it physically, mentally, emotionally, or all of the above – to do so is incredibly unsafe and dangerous.
If you find yourself in this situation, whether you be the individual making the move or the person helping a loved one, here are five tips to keep in mind:
You know the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Well, that’s the case with most things in life and it certainly applies to assisted living communities.
Be sure to visit various communities before making a decision and ask as many questions as possible of the staff. This is a major, life-changing decision and should be treated as such. You want to be comfortable with the facility and staff, but that goes deeper than aesthetics and amenities. Familiarize yourself with the social calendar, security and safety, transportation options and, most importantly, the nursing and health care at each community. It is important to discuss – specifically – any and all health issues you or your loved one have, and learn the process regarding care.
During tours, make sure to see the room or an exact replica/model of the one you or your loved one will be living in. Find out what you are able to bring and what is provided? For example, are the rooms furnished? If so, are you permitted to bring your own furniture and appliances, or do you have to use what is provided? Are pets allowed? What is the visitation policy? Are there any hazards to be aware of? Are there any particular safety features? In case of an emergency, what is the typical response time for a nurse or attendant to assist you?
Are there family members and/or friends that you want to remain close to? If so, you’ll want a facility that is convenient enough for them to visit.
If you are the individual moving into an assisted living facility, invite those closest to you to share in the transition. Perhaps they can spend the first couple days with you in your new surroundings or – if permitted – spend the first night with you. This will help elevate your comfort level. The same applies if you are helping a loved one move. Keep in mind that this is a massive change and there are a great deal of emotions involved. While we are all busy and have our own responsibilities, try to be as supportive as possible and keep the enormity of this situation in mind.
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