The process of finding an assisted living environment for your Mom usually begins when you become concerned that your Mom isn’t safe at home alone. This is often an emotional decision and for many adult children, it’s an area where they have little experience or in many cases, really don’t know where or how to start a search.
One first step is to make a list of the areas where your Mom may need help to stay as independent as possible. Some common areas are help with medications, help bathing or getting dressed, or assistance with ambulation. Perhaps your Mom isn’t as involved in social activities as she used to be. Some of our parents aren’t eating well or are skipping meals.
Once you have your list of areas where your Mom needs extra help, explore what senior living options are available in your area. The Internet is a great place to start and most assisted living communities have websites with information on services offered, apartment sizes and activities and outings offered by the community.
When you see a community that looks like a match for your Mom, call and schedule a visit. When visiting an assisted living community, be keenly aware of your first impressions. Is the staff happy and engaged with the seniors who live there? Are the senior adults happy and engaged in fun social activities? Are the senior adults appropriately groomed and attired? Ask the staff how long they have worked at the community; ask the senior adults how they like living there. Try to schedule your visit during or near meal times. How does the food look? Ask the staff how they handle senior food preferences. Is there assistance with transportation for physician appointments and group outings? What is the visitor policy; can you drop in unannounced at any time you like? Can your Mom bring her pet?
If you initial impression is positive, drop back in unannounced. How do things look when no one knows you are dropping in? It’s often good to do this late in the day and will give you a better picture of what level of staff is available after traditional “business hours”. If this visit is positive, schedule a time for your Mom to come to the community and spend a few hours, perhaps eating a meal with the other senior adults and getting a chance to meet some of her potential new neighbors.
When starting your search, identify what services and supports your Mom needs first and then look for a welcoming, safe community that will meet those needs. Again, your first impressions are important and often key to a successful transition for your Mom.
For more information about assisted living, visit us at GreatOaksManagement.com.