During this month of love, I thought it a perfect time to discuss the most loved things about assisted living. It has been interesting over the years for me to get the perspective not just from the families, but from the residents themselves on what was their favorite. So here is the TOP THREE FAVES of Assisted Living Communities.
- Peace of Mind
There is something to be said for having someone there to look out for you, day or night. It is also very reassuring to know that communities have emergency response systems. Another very beneficial help is transportation assistance. Some of our residents find that driving later in life becomes stressful. Having someone to take them safely to appointments is a huge help and comfort to them and their families.
- Enjoying Eating Again
Not only do you have someone there to cook three home-cooked meals a day, plus snacks….but eating with other members of the community makes the dining process so much more enjoyable.. Seeing new friendships form as residents fellowship around the table is a very gratifying part of my job.
- Handing Over the Housework
I don’t think I have EVER had one single resident that was sad to hand over the cooking, cleaning or the laundry. It is a huge perk of moving into an assisted living! I laughed when my husband came to my community the first week I started.. His exact words were, “they do your laundry, cook your food and clean your room? I don’t get that at home!!”. He’s a real comedian.
With so many things to love, it may be time to look into assisted living for your loved one. These are just three of many reasons that our communities are loved by our residents. Schedule a tour today and check out first hand what may be a perfect fit for you and yours.
In the past 7 years, I have given MANY tours at our assisted living community. I’ve even given tours at some of our sister communities. I’ve read guides that industry pros have posted. I’ve listened to feedback from residents, families, staff and upper-level management. I’ve moved residents into our property from every setting you can imagine. Now, it’s not that I think that I have all the answers. That is laughable and would be impossible. But how about I just offer you as Paul Harvey would say “the rest of the story” and give you my humble insights. I like working with lists of 3s. So, here is a list of my top three suggestions for finding the assisted living community that is the right fit.
Suggestion Number One
Remember WHO is the Consumer
One of the most surprising things that I ever experienced in my senior living career was the opportunity to move a resident into our 16-bed community from a place that I swear resembled a resort at the beach. It was, however, also an assisted living community. As I drove onto the property I honestly mouthed the words…WOW. Inside was the latest of color schemes and decor. I honestly wanted to ask the lady at the desk in the lobby the name of the gray paint on the walls. I loved it. But my grandmother would have hated it. I have residents that would have hated it. And you guessed it…so did the resident that I moved out of this fancy pants place and into our community. This huge place was also overwhelming to the resident. The resident had vision issues and that typically doesn’t pair well with a monochromatic color scheme or a giant campus. Bottom line…think of the loved one whom you are considering living in a community and be sure that you are shopping for them and not YOU.
Suggestion Number Two
Meet and Greet
It didn’t take me long to realize when I started working with senior adults exactly who was in charge and it was NOT me. Now naturally, I make sure that we are being regulatory compliant and we don’t do anything that is unsafe. But the phrase that I remind our staff and how we approach the care in how we treat our residents is “this is their house and we work for you”. It’s not just something that we say, it is how we do our best to approach the things that we do. If you are looking at a community that doesn’t treat your loved one as an individual, look elsewhere! When it comes to tours, I offer our current residents the opportunity to meet and greet some of our prospects. It gives the prospective family and potential residents a chance to hear first-hand information from the consumers who know it best. It also invites the members of our community to be part of the place they call home and it is truly heart-warming to see the way that they communicate. Who else would know better than the ones who have been in the exact same shoes as the prospect!
Suggestion Number Three
Another thing (that yes, even as an administrator) I would suggest is drop in without an appointment. Now, of course, this needs to be at a decent hour. Most properties love to schedule a tour so that a marketing person or administrator can help you through the process and that is a truly effective way to get the answers to most of your questions. But dropping in on a Saturday or taking up the offer to join the community for a meal are great ways to get a good feel for how a community functions. Now the meal “invites” do typically need to be scheduled so that enough food can be prepared, but it is a wonderful opportunity to sample the “fare” and observe the staff and community. Also, don’t forget to let the prospective resident be part of this process. I have witnessed many families try to avoid bringing their loved one along for fear of upsetting them. I say start slowly. This change is hard for everyone…even for the adult children that are trying to do what is best and safe for their aging parent or loved one. Making the decision to move to an assisted living community is not easy. Change isn’t easy. But making the decision to keep someone safe is the right move.
If you would like more information about one of our Great Oaks Management Properties or would like to set up a tour at a property near you, please call us today at 1-888-258-8082.
You have had the tough conversations. Everyone is on board. You have found the ideal community and they have a spot that is perfect for your loved one. Your aging parent has been evaluated and deemed appropriate for assisted living. So with the completed required physician paperwork in hand you are headed down the yellow brick road to assisted living happiness! But wait…what exactly DO you DO now? Daddy HAS to have his favorite chair and Mama isn’t going ANYWHERE without her beloved bedroom furniture. Sound familiar?? I’ve had multiple residents say the transition was so much easier when their new apartment felt like home because they were able to bring significant pieces from that home with them. So don’t fret…with courage, heart and the knowledge that you need, you can click your heels together and help your family member get comfortable in their place.
Based on the floor-plan that you choose, you can help them decide what furniture will fit best in their room. On all of our property webpages and the Great Oaks Management website, you can find the dimensions and layouts for the rooms. This can help you visualize how you want to set up the area. As each resident is unique in their personality-their room can and should reflect their style and taste. Does Dad like having his cup of coffee while sitting in his recliner watching the evening news? Try taking photos of the current setup for your loved one and trying to match the arrangement as best as possible to set them up for success.
You also want the room to be familiar but also functional. Reducing clutter and being mindful of any transfer devices such as walkers or wheelchairs is a key component. Now you don’t want to be considered the “Wicked Witch of the West”! So don’t get stressed about HOW to start the process. We have a helpful list below of What To Bring to get you started.
For more information about Great Oaks Management and its communities, please visit www.GreatOaksManagement.com.