The challenge of finding the right fit for Mom or Dad in an assisted living or nursing home can be daunting. So we can take it in small steps, which will help us make the correct decision. The first question is why we are looking for a new residence for our parent or parents. If the answer is because the upkeep and independence of living at home has become too much. All of the shopping, cleaning, yard work and such can be overwhelming. However, at this point you may not need an assisted living or nursing home; rather a retirement setting may fit the bill.
I would remind you that all settings are not the same. And you probably would be further ahead to look for a ‘care campus’ rather than a stand-alone retirement setting. A care campus is a retirement, assisted living and nursing home all on one piece of property, however each is an individual dwelling. Do not be fooled by the marketing person who will say, our assisted living or our nursing home of choice is just a short ways. We will get into the whys of the decision in a moment.
If you are looking for an assisted living due to supervision of medication protocol, but for no other reason; select from the assisted livings which are less heavily staffed and not the new kid on the block so to speak. Look at what this business offers and how it will offer that to your parent. Then go to visit without an appointment and when you walk through the door let your eyes, ears and nose be your detector. What does this establishment have to offer your mom or dad? If your parent is supposed to be on a special diet, low sodium, diabetic or other; check out specifically how this will be accomplished within this facility. If you know your parent will want to have their car, check the possibility of this happening with little or no hassle. If you parent is involved in a Saturday Bridge Club, how will this facility meet this need.
Should you be looking for discharge from the hospital to rehabilitative care, at the first available opportunity sit down with the Social Worker, working on the (hospital) floor your parent is and get the information of what is available within the community? Then ask the Social Worker, if this was your mom or dad where would you look? Now armed with the information gathered do not schedule an appointment just go look. Again, let your eyes, ears and nose is your guide. This same scenario is true if your parent is suffering from dementia, or unhealed pressure sores.
With all of this information, I am sure you are wondering why there would be an entire article for just the one topic of facilities and the differences in them. The fact is with all of the dollars which have driven the care industry (and don’t be mistaken, it is an industry) most facilities are now specialized in the kind of care they provide. Ones providing rehabilitation are likely to have in house top of the line physically therapy. Ones specializing in providing medication management do just this with their own pharmasist and physician in house. Dementia care is a little more intrusive meaning most of these facilities have ‘wondering deterrents’ in place (wondering deterrent is locked doors with key pad combination).
The reason for all of this information is just this, once a person’s health has failed to the point of requiring facility care moving them is an assault on their whole system. Many times people will say that moving their parent was just too difficult on the parent and lead to more medical care. This is just one reason for a ‘care campus’. I will bring you more on campus care in the next article.