I have received many emails over the past few weeks from people who are getting to the stage in life where their parents need more assistance as they are aging. Many of them are looking for senior care and trying to decide if they want in home help or an assisted living facility.
Most people are unsure how to even begin the search which makes sense because there is so much information out there. For this blog we will begin with facilities and address in home care next time.
Here are a few basic things you can do to start that will help you get the ball rolling. The first thing you want to do is decide what the needs are for mom or dad. What specific things are they unable to do easily and safely at this point? Take out a piece of paper and write down the actual "needs" not wants first.
needs help getting dressed
needs help with showers
needs medication reminder
Next you want to write down some of the "wants" or things you would like the facility to have.
physically close since I will be visiting often
3 meals a day instead of 2
This is a good starting point because when you have this type of information then you can start looking at facilities online and finding out which ones have what you are looking for and then narrow down to the ones you actually want to visit. You should look online but keep in mind you will rarely if ever find any pricing online. The companies make you go to the facility and take a tour in order to get the pricing they hand out. It is also important to remember that the pricing they give you is negotiable. Take a look at the FAQ section of my website to learn some additional information.
Once you have a list of places you think fit your needs and wants then you need to go visit them and take notes and ask questions. There is a printable list of specific things to ask on the printable tab of my website. You can highlight the specific topics that matter to your situation. You will find some you had not even thought to ask. Once you have visited the facilities and have all the information provided then you can compare and narrow down your options. I would encourage you to get as much information from my website or by contacting me directly for assistance so that I can provide you with first hand experience and crucial inside information having had a parent in several different places.
One more thing you might have heard about is a business called A Place For Mom. Companies like this advertise that they can find the perfect place for your loved one for free. This is true, they are free and they do have a lot of data about facilities but there are several things about these companies you want to keep in mind. You do NOT need these places to schedule tours for you. All they do is make a phone call just like you can. In addition it is best to go to a facility without an appointment so you see what things are like when someone does not know you are coming. What is going on in the lobby? Are people happy? The company will get paid a finder fee from the facility you choose. You will also have less negotiating power if the company has to get paid a finder fee. That is how the companies make their money. Once you "hire" them you will receive constant calls trying to get you to decide and often once you have they still solicit you. They also do not have personal experience with each senior facility. They usually have data provided to them from the facilities themselves.
Finding care for a parent is stressful and very overwhelming. That is why this website was created and why I write this blog. I want to make the process easier and support people as they move through the steps. Nothing is more important than having our loved ones cared for with respect and love and to know that is happening 100 percent of the time even when nobody is watching.