Choosing Senior Care Facilities

What is the best solution when it comes to aging parents and elder care? One of the downsides of longer life spans is this grim fact: Many people reach the point of being unable to live independently.

Families must make hard choices about taking care of elderly parents. Some options they may consider are special services such as assisted care facilities, retirement communities, elder care homes, or even nursing homes.

Are you wondering how to take care of aging parents in the most loving way? Here is some advice on how to select the best elder care option for your loved ones.

Choosing the best options for taking care of elderly parentsCredit: Ambro / , Ambro / ,

Seek Professional Advice About Elder Care Services

First, talk with your physician and ask for a recommendation to the proper resource. This is a good first step because a family physician has probably been caring for your family member for a long time.

He or she has a working knowledge of the treatments, medications, and other health information pertinent to the person for whom you are considering elder care.

Looking at an overall picture of the individual's needs helps you decide what type of ongoing care your loved one needs and which facilities and services are best for them.

Most physicians know which resources and services are trustworthy and which are not. In fact, some physicians routinely check on their patients who live in elderly care facilities, so your healthcare provider may have inside information on the best options.

Second, talk with a hospital social worker. These people are often asked to help with advice about elder care management. Tell them about your loved one's needs and concerns—for instance, does your elderly parent suffers from Alzheimer's—and they can give you the necessary information you need to make a good decision.

Getting Referrals for Senior Care Options

Third, talk with friends, neighbors or relative who have been through similar experiences. They may be able to give you other names and places to consider, and you have the advantage of learning from their experiences as they sought appropriate care for elderly relatives.

Consider contacting your local religious organization or social service program. Some church groups and aging programs sponsor elder care facilities or homes for their members or the community. However, whether or not they sponsor one, these organizations are excellent repositories of information about the various resources and services in your local area. Based on their experience and knowledge, they may even offer ideas or options that you had not considered.

FAQs About Elder Care Facilities

Fourth, make a list of several facilities that may suit your requirements. Schedule a tour at each and determine the answers to some very important questions like:

  • How do the patients look?
  • Do they look happy to be there?
  • Are they appropriately dressed and look reasonably healthy?
  • What is the atmosphere in the facility?
  • Do the employees and staff recognize you and treat you professionally?
  • When talking with the administrator, nurses and other employees, do they answer your questions honestly and directly?
  • Do you notice any unpleasant odors as you tour the facility?
  • What is the cost of living in the facility, and what services are included in the price?
  • Is there adequate privacy for residents?
  • Are you concerned about any safety issues?
  • Are there guard rails in the bathrooms?
  • What is the fire prevention program, and what is the procedure for emergency evacuations?
  • What are the policies and requirements for living there?
  • What Medicare and Medicaid issues could you potentially have to deal with?
  • Are there special sections for the terminally ill or those who have Alzheimer's?

As you tour various elder care facilities and evaluate options, you will probably come up with other questions you need answered that are unique to the aging parent, friend or relative for whom you are seeking care. It's a good idea to carry a notebook with you while doing your tours so you can jot down questions as they come up.

Making A Final Decision

Address all these issues before placing a relative into any senior care facility. Do your due diligence by talking with all the health care providers, family members, and involved friends and do your research on the full scope of elder care options.

After deciding on one or two that are worthwhile, talk with your loved one about visiting them. Let them take a tour if possible and be a part of the decision.

Leaving home to move to a nursing home or assisted living facility is stressful under the best of circumstances, but it does not have to be a traumatic experience. By involving the individual (when possible), you allow them to own a part of the process and the decision, which makes any such event little more palatable in the long run.

Choosing a Certified Aging in Place Specialist

Transitioning Smoothly to Elder Care Facilities

Moving to a new place is stressful whether you are young or old, but the anxiety is usually exacerbated by age and illness. Try the following tips for a more pleasant experience for everyone:

Let your loved ones be a part of the process to the extent of their interest. Some things they might want to do are:

  1. Help plan the move and make decisions about what to take.
  2. Pack items and arrange for the disposition of household goods they won't be moving.
  3. Shop or buy some items for decorating their new home.
  4. Take photographs of favorite places or people as remembrances.

Allowing them to help makes them feel better about making the transition. On the other hand, if they are not able to take part, or they are angry and resentful about the change, it is best not to force them.

Decorate the new environment to resemble their former residence as much as possible. If the move is from a single family home to a tiny nursing home room, this can be challenging but not impossible. Look through books or magazines for ideas on decorating a small space. For instance, family photographs, a few treasured mementos, and a favorite blanket or throw can be reassuring to someone in a new environment.

Visit often even if you can only stay for a few minutes. Regular, consistent visits from friends and family reassure people of their worth and value.