Considering Assisted Living Options?

Considering Assisted Living Options?
The decision to look into assisted living for yourself or a family member is never an easy one.  There seem to be more questions than answers.  Is it the right time?  Will I be comfortable?  Will my mother still have some independence?  How will Dad be treated by the staff?It’s not a decision to be made lightly.  It is, after all, a move to a very different type of environment.  Some people may recognize that they need some additional help, and it’s just not safe to live alone anymore.  Others have grown tired of the upkeep of a large home, and prefer to downsize to a smaller home that offers amenities like laundry service and meal preparation.  Family members may worry about falls or medical issues, and circumstances may not allow them to move a parent into their own home. Those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s have special needs, and it may not be possible for family to provide the structure and 24/7 supervision necessary to ensure their safety.There are many types of facilities to choose from, so your first step will be to do some internet research and carefully consider your needs, likes, and dislikes. Many assisted living facilities offer apartment-type living, with small units that may have their own kitchenette.  They may offer housekeeping, on-site laundry, and perhaps the option to have meals in a dining room with other residents.  There may be additional charges depending on which services you choose to receive.Others can be more like nursing homes, with private or semi-private rooms, communal dining and full housekeeping and laundry services.  Another type that has become quite popular is assisted living in a home setting.  Small numbers of residents live in a private home, with bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and back yard.  Staff is on hand to prepare meals, provide assistance to residents, and handle laundry and housekeeping.

This type of facility can be a great choice, particularly for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.  The home-like setting more closely resembles their own home, and may decrease agitation and stress.  While many of these assisted living homes are secure, locked facilities, the freedom to move about the home and freely access the back yard feel less restrictive.  The smaller staff-to-resident ratio means a closer relationship.  Staff members soon know the likes and dislikes of the residents, and are more apt to notice when a resident is ill or needs medical attention.

It’s vital to personally visit as many different facilities as possible.  Keep an open mind; don’t dismiss a facility until you’ve actually had the opportunity to evaluate it.  Most facilities welcome visitors, and will be happy to show you around and talk about what they offer.  Ask questions.  If they aren’t answered to your satisfaction, that’s a bad sign.  Think about the personality of the potential resident.  Would they be happy here?  Some people like the social aspects of a large complex, but still appreciate that they can retreat to their own unit for some quiet reading.  Others will feel more comfortable in the family-like environment of a small private-home facility.

Also ask about activities, on-site medical and dental services, staff-to-resident ratios, meal preparation and service, and other things that you find personally important.  Be up-front about special needs, and whether or not the potential resident is ambulatory.  Many assisted living facilities provide only minimal assistance and may require you to move to a nursing home level of care if you have mobility issues or need more help with daily living activities.  The smaller home-type facilities are more likely to be willing and able to provide more assistance as the resident requires it.

It’s a decision that many will have to make at some point.  Arm yourself with the best information, and don’t skimp on the visits or the questions.  After all, you’re paying for the room and board and additional services, so it only makes sense to get what you need and want, in a setting that feels comfortable.

Rio Rancho Assisted Living