Next Steps: When Your Parents Need Assisted Living
Last Updated: September 12, 2018
It can be difficult to realize that Dad or Mom needs more care in a setting like assisted living. Just as our parents kept us safe and secure when we needed it — there comes a time when we’re called upon to return this same love to our parents.
Learn more about the next steps to take when your parents need assisted living.
6 Steps to Take When Your Parents Need Assisted Living
Some of us will provide care to our parents or senior loved ones in our own home for a period, but this is not always possible for all families, or always desired by the children or parents themselves. Many families find themselves searching for assisted living, an intermediate level of residential care for seniors who aren’t safe living alone.
Ideally, your parents can be full participants in the search, but when your loved one is impaired by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you may have to proactively take more control of the decision making.
If you see that your parents need assisted living, here are some steps that can help you find them the right care:
1. Determine what you can afford.
Like it or not, money is going to be a factor in many families’ searches. Look at what your family can afford on a monthly basis. Our guide to financial planning page could be a helpful reference. Look into creative ways to pay for care, like social security or veterans benefits. Some families may have to consider difficult options such as pooling resources from the adult children, selling a family home or even cashing-in a life insurance policy.
2. Get connected with a Senior Living Advisor.
After you have already done a little investigating into what your family can afford, an A Place for Mom Senior Living Advisor can provide a list of assisted living communities that meet the needs and preferences you have already established, including ones that are in your price range. This list of communities is an excellent starting point for your search. For those families who ultimately cannot afford private-pay senior care and require state assistance in the form of Medicaid (not to be confused with Medicare), your Advisor will connect you with the appropriate liaison at the Area Agency on Aging so that you can get this process started.
3. Go visit an assisted living community.
No amount of time viewing brochures, floor plans, photos or reviews can substitute for an in-person visit to an assisted living community. Schedule visits for you and your parent at a minimum of three communities on your short-list. If you and your parent have the time and stamina, it may be helpful to view more communities as you narrow the search. A good time to tour is during a meal, such as lunch, so potential residents can try the food and get a good sense of the community’s culture; as most of the residents will be out and about during a mealtime. Based on these initial tours, narrow down your search to two or three favorites. Perform follow-up tours, perhaps even unannounced, to get a good sense for the community you and your parent are considering. Your Senior Living Advisor can make this process easier for you by arranging all your tours in one short call.
4. Include your parent or senior loved one.
The more involved your parents are in the search, the better. Of course, you can do much of the legwork for them, but have discussions with your parents about their desires and preferences and, ideally, present them with a range of options. If your parent is in denial about his or her need for care, read our article about overcoming resistance in these situations.
5. Prepare to move.
If you’ve come this far in the process, there’s no sense in delaying the move. It’s risky to procrastinate when a parent needs care, as the delay can lead to avoidable accidents and medical problems. Our “6 Survival Tips for Moving Your Elderly Loved One” article has important information about helping to ensure this move goes smoothly.
6. Work together towards a decision.
Whether your parent is choosing the community themselves or whether you need to make that decision for parents impaired by Alzheimer’s or dementia, try to make sure that everyone in your family feels good about the choice. When possible, have conversations with your parents discussing the pros and cons of each option and try to find consensus about the right option. You can always bounce ideas off of your Senior Living Advisor during your decision-making process and get his or her impressions of communities on your referral list. Another smart move is reading reviews of senior communities on SeniorAdvisor.com, which can also help you make an informed and confident decision. Finally, you can also check the background of an assisted living community you are considering with the licensing agency in your state that monitors assisted living.
What difficulties have you faced in looking for an assisted living community for your senior parent? Share your stories with us in the comments below.
We Can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.