When you are faced with placing a loved one into an assisted living care facility, you may feel overwhelmed with the responsibility to make the right decision. Understanding common pitfalls and mistakes others have made can help ensure that your loved one is taken care of financially, emotionally, and socially. Here are a few mistakes to avoid when looking for assisted living care facilities for your parent or loved one.
1. Choosing a community that does not match the needs of your loved one
Your parent has needs that are different from when they were younger. Perhaps they are less (or more) outgoing now, or they are not as interested in as many activities due to dementia or arthritis. Knowing the needs your parent or loved one has now is important to assess as you consider different communities.
2. The community matches your tastes, not your loved ones’ tastes
While you may love a heated swimming pool and game nights, perhaps your loved one is not interested in those activities. Think about where they are now, at this stage of their life, and what they would enjoy. Try to involve your parents or loved ones in the decision-making process to help make them more enthusiastic about the move.
3. Judging a community too harshly at first glance
They say not to judge a book by its cover. Of course, it is reasonable to assume that any community that looks disheveled, dirty, or dangerous should be off your list. However, simply because a community has extravagant and expensive features should not indicate a better quality of care. Luxury does not always equal quality attention. Look to how staff members behave, not only with residents but among themselves. A happy and enthusiastic staff typically indicates a welcoming and reputable establishment where the employees are genuinely interested in their jobs and the community.
4. Deciding too quickly
The pressure to make a decision is often overbearing. You want to make a good decision, an educated decision, and the best decision, but you feel pressure to make it immediately for the sake of your loved one. Take a moment and realize that this decision needs appropriate time and attention. Visit a minimum of three different communities. Talk with your loved one about what they liked and didn’t like. This decision is so important because it will affect the day-to-day life of your loved one. Give yourself the space and time you need to make the best decision you can.
5. Going it alone
Never make a decision this big alone. Talk to your loved one, your family, your friends, your co-workers, and anyone you know who has gone through this process. Consider visiting with a Local Elder Living Advisor who can walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Whatever you do, don’t shoulder these decisions alone.
6. Not reviewing the documents, and the fine print
Assisted living care communities are expensive. Some families are unprepared for the prices involved. Review your contract with the facility carefully and review the fees with a trusted advisor. Some communities are “all-inclusive,” and others price out the fees separately. Determine how much you can afford, and then review the documents carefully to ensure that they match with what you have been told.
7. Putting location above all else
We all want to be near our parents or loved ones when they are in their new assisted living care community. Finding the closest assisted living care community seems like the most logical choice. Even if you plan on visiting often, your parent or loved one will be there every day and spend all their time there. Make sure that you are prioritizing their best interests over your convenience, or your ability to see them every day. While this is a difficult decision, ultimately, what is best for your loved one is the most important.
8. Not thinking of the future
During this time in your loved one’s life, it’s difficult to think of the possibility of their future needs including worsening health conditions. Many assisted living care communities have different tiered areas which will allow for more vigilant health care if your loved one would need it in the future. Moving from one wing to another of the same building is much less impactful to your loved one than completely moving into a different facility. Try to find a community that will grow with your parent or loved one’s needs as they grow older.
9. Not admitting a mistake was made
While your original intentions were good, circumstances have changed and now you realize that the decision is not in the best interest of your loved one. Always remember that your parent or loved one’s comfort is the most important, and if changing communities is best, then the short time of transition will be worth it to get them into a community that works better for them.
At Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, we encourage you to visit with us so that we can give you as much information as possible regarding the assisted living care decision you are making for their loved one. We often recommend that families take a tour to see if one of our assisted living communities is a good fit for them. You can contact us to request more information or to schedule a tour.