After making tough decisions and weeks of planning, your father is now living in a fantastic assisted living facility. You finally have a chance to catch your breath and focus on work. But don’t get too comfortable…
I Just Moved my Parent to Assisted Living, Now I am All Set … Maybe
by Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC — Aging Life Care Association™ Member and Fellow of the Leadership Academy
You may have been lucky enough to have worked with an Aging Life Care Manager™ in helping choose an assisted living facility for your parent. She or he helped your family decide that the support of assisted living made more sense now than staying home. Your parent will have some help when needed with personal care, meals, housekeeping, and companionship. The Aging Life Care Manager helped your family sort through the pros and cons of various options based on professional experiences – that is, life beyond the website and brochures. Different pricing options were analyzed and financial resources considered. The Care Manager may have helped you locate a move manager.
You probably are breathing a sigh of relief and giving yourself a much-deserved pat on the back. The hard work is over, right? Not so fast. There is much to be happy about, as a big safety net has been created. However, you may still need to supervise more than you think. A care plan should be formulated early on. Some questions/issues to monitor:
- Is your parent getting prompting with medication?
- Do they need help with a shower or dressing?
- Can they find their way around? Do they need an escort to meals?
- Are they going to any of those activities that sounded so good to you?
- Does anyone notice if your parent is not feeling well?
But who will know whether these things are really happening? If you are out of town, you probably already realize that having local eyes and ears are important to see how things are going. Even if you are in town and busy with work and family, it may be beneficial to have the Aging Life Care Manager™ visit your parent. They know the staff and can get an inside scoop on how your parent is adjusting. They can advocate and intervene when needed. Your parent may still need someone to interface with the medical system or perhaps take your parent to medical appointments. You are still responsible for the medical care of your parent. Most times that means continuing with doctors in the community. So, an Aging Life Care Manager may be able to coordinate medical care and provide relevant information to the assisted living staff.
Like any move, the one to assisted living is a big transition. Your parent may benefit from talking to someone outside the family about the big changes in their life. They will want to get the lay of the land. It is a long time since high school, but where you sit in the cafeteria, aka a dining room, still has social import. This may be the most frequent socialization your parent has, so finding companionable seat mates is a help.
Everyone hopes your loved one can stay in assisted living as long as possible and make it their home. The average length of stay in assisted living is 2.5 to 3 years, so it is not always the rest of a person’s life. Care needs may become more intense and nursing home care may be needed. Sometimes families can afford to supplement the care at the facility with additional private care.
Licensing of assisted living facilities varies by state and makes for differences in services. Your local Aging Life Care Professional can help you find the facility that is right for you.
About the author: Suzanne Modigliani, LICSW, CMC is an Aging Life Care Specialist™ in Brookline, MA who works with families to find solutions to complicated elder care problems. She has been a leader in the Aging Life Care Association and quoted extensively in the media as seen on her website modiglianigeriatrics.com.
This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.