Determining where a parent should live when they can no longer live alone is a very difficult decision to make. Fortunately, there are several types of senior housing communities to choose from when you’ve noticed signs that it is time for assisted living.
Making an informed decision typically means taking your time exploring options to find an assisted living facility that best meets the senior’s needs.
But what happens if there is no time? If the need for a senior living community occurs as the result of a crisis, what can families do?
When a move to an assisted living community is necessary because of a crisis like an illness or a fall, a decision may need to be made quickly. Possibly even within the week.
6 Tips for Finding an Assisted Living Community During a Crisis
In emergency situations when a plan for long-term care has not been established and time is of the essence, the following six tips will help in your search for the assisted living community that is the most appropriate for your loved one.
TIP #1: Confirm that an Assisted Living Community is the Right Decision.
- Understand the purpose of assisted living, and the types of services and level of care provided.
- Talk to the physician to make sure you have a complete understanding as to the kinds and amounts of care that your senior loved one will require.
TIP #2: Determine Finances and Establish a Budget.
- Talk with your senior loved one to see if they have a long-term care insurance policy. In many cases, it will also help finance assisted living.
- Some senior living communities, like Elmcroft Senior Living, can help you explore alternate sources of funding such as the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance benefit, bridge loans to help finance care while you are waiting for the senior’s home to be sold or Life Settlement accounts.
TIP #3: Gather Information.
- Talk to friends and family who have a loved one in a local assisted living community and directly to the senior, if possible, for personal insight.
- Go online to review basic information on the different assisted living communities in your area.
- Turn to professionals you trust, like your aging parent’s primary care doctor to ask for their referral.
- Call the communities that look like possibilities to determine if there is an apartment available.
TIP #4: Visit in Person.
- Once you have a few possibilities, call to schedule a tour.
- If your loved one will be discharged from the hospital soon, you might have to enlist the help of family and friends to split up your list.
- Never skip the personal visit! It is the single best way to determine if the community is the best choice for your senior loved one.
TIP #5: Prepare Your Questions.
- Arm yourself with the tools you need to carefully and thoughtfully evaluate each community.
- The Assisted Living Federation of America has a helpful assisted living visit checklist you can download to better understand what to look for and what to ask.
- Our Cost Comparison Worksheet can help ensure you are comparing apples to apples in terms of expenses from one community to the next.
- Before you sign anything, request a copy of the resident agreement and all required contracts.
- Carefully look over the contract, and if possible, have an attorney experienced in senior living review it.
- Make sure the following are spelled out in detail: Charges for Care; Rules of the Facility; Methods for Handling Disagreements
- Make sure you are satisfied and you understand the ins and outs of the community before any documents are signed.
Choosing a senior care community is never easy, and when the decision has to be made in the midst of a crisis, the task becomes even more difficult.
As you investigate the choices it is very important to not make any assumptions, but to ask a lot of pointed questions that will help to determine how your loved one will be cared for.