10 QUESTION ABOUT ASSISTED LIVING
CHOOSING A SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY
ASSISTED LIVING LINKS
ASSISTED LIVING RESOURCES
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Assisted living residences or assisted living
facilities (ALFs) provide supervision or
assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs);
coordination of services by outside health care
providers; and monitoring of resident activities
to help to ensure their health, safety, and
Assistance may include the administration or
supervision of medication, or personal care services
provided by a trained staff person.
Assisted living as it exists today emerged in the
1990s as an eldercare alternative on the continuum
of care for people, normally seniors, for whom
independent living is no longer appropriate but who
do not need the 24-hour medical care provided by a
nursing home. Assisted living is a philosophy of care
and services promoting independence and dignity.
Within the United States assisted living spectrum,
there is no nationally recognized definition of
assisted living. Assisted living facilities are
regulated and licensed at the US state level. More
than two-thirds of the states use the licensure term
"assisted living." Other licensure terms used for this
philosophy of care include residential care home,
assisted care living facilities, and personal care homes.
Each state licensing agency has its own definition of
the term it uses to describe assisted living. Because
the term assisted living has not been defined in some
states it is often a marketing term used by a variety of
senior living communities, licensed or unlicensed.
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Ten Questions To Consider when Moving
a Parent into Assisted Living.
Deciding to move a parent into assisted living
is a big decision - and one that is best done
by making numerous smaller decisions. Going from
considering making such a move to taking action
(or not) can be made easier by realizing a few
things about this process. You are not the first
person to have to deal with the many issues,
challenges, and emotions this decision entails.
Many others have already gone through this process
and you can benefit from what they have learned.
This list is meant as a way to help you not to miss
any details - be they emotional, financial, or
pragmatic - that you might need to focus on in order
to help make your parent's move to a new living
arrangement as smooth as possible.
1. Where do I begin?
At the beginning. Make a list of questions. The most
important - "is this move really necessary?" Consider
the pros and cons to a variety of options:
•Can they stay where they are, with more outside or
•How much assistance do you need in the assisted living
arrangement you envision for your parent (for example -
would a room-mate or live-in caregiver work)?
•Can they move in with family or someone close to them?
•How willing are they to move?
•? - what other special circumstances
apply to your unique situation - ?
2. How do I find a ‘good’ place for them to live?
Check out local and national referral services.
Public services can be found through your state’s
Department of Human Resources. There are many
private referral services as well. Most private
services earn a referral fee from the community
your parent chooses to reside in so there should
be no charge to you for this service. Just to be
safe, always ask first if there is a fee.
3. How much will it cost?
Probably more than you would like or might expect.
Private pay assisted living facilities in the US
range from $800 to over $5,000 monthly, based on
location and level of care. In addition to rent,
lease, or purchase costs consider any add-ons that
may be required or desired. Some examples of these
costs can include:
•administration of medication
•transportation to doctors or shopping
•? - others - ?
When you are pricing and comparing various
assisted living facilities, you should also
find out how often fees rise and how much
notice you will get about such raises.
4. How will we pay for it?
Many assisted living communities want an assurance,
in the form of a net worth statement, that your
parent will be able to afford to live there for the
reasonably projected future. If you are serious about
being a person that is going to help your parent move
into assisted living, this is a time where you will
likely need a clear understanding of your parent’s
financial resources. This may be uncomfortable. It
will often be necessary. You must realize that part of
considering moving a loved one into assisted living is
recognizing that this person is losing the ability to
independently manage numerous aspects of their life.
Dealing with financial issues is often an emotional
turning point for many families but with a clear
financial picture you will be able to evaluate what they
can afford in the way of housing and assistance.
5. What medical, emotional, financial and
family resources will my parent and I need?
Be proactive! Dealing with medical paperwork,
coordinating schedules, pulling together resources
in ways that will be a stretch because you have
never faced this challenge before is rough enough.
You will also be dealing with the emotions that
inevitably arise when you have deal with what is
likely the final chapter of a loved one's life. It
is easy to get a little overwhelmed, and that is Ok,
but you will be more effective in accomplishing what
you need to get done if you try to stay on top of
6. What can they take with them?
This all depends on where they’re going and how much
living space they will have.
•Take favorite pictures and other small treasured things
that may be decorating their walls; familiar things can
make them feel more at home more quickly, and it gives
them things to talk about with their new neighbors.
•Make a floor plan of their new residence on paper or on
the computer and do a scaled layout of their furniture.
Then decide what they will take and what to do with the
excess so it’s not in your basement or an expensive
storage facility for years to come.
•Some communities allow very small dogs and cats; most do
not. Ask the community for a list of do’s and don’t's.
7. How much might their life change?
This is often one of the biggest changes in a person's
lifetime. Many seniors view this move as the last one
of their lives, and it can cause them to be sad,
depressed, or angry. More positive folks see it as a
way to unburden their families and feel more secure
about receiving the ongoing care they need. Community
caregivers are trained to notice and deal with differing
attitudes, and you should work with them and with your
parent to help them adjust.
8. How much might my life change?
Take time out to consider this. Much of your focus is
put on your parent. Once you feel assured that they are
settled in and well taken care of you should give yourself
some time and space to settle in yourself, without guilt.
Just as a parent breathes a sigh of relief when their
children leave home, and at the same time misses them
sorely, allow yourself to go through conflicting emotions.
Life will be different for them and different for you, some
things you will like and some you won’t. Talk through it.
Walk through it. You, your parent, and your family will
continue to evolve.
9. How can I make the move easier on them?
Spend the first day, move-in day, with them. Set a
realistic expectation about how much time you will be
able to spend with them afterward. Help them get to
know others in their assisted living community by
engaging in structured activities. Take another resident
along when you take your parent out for a visit, shopping,
or for a meal.
Get them as involved in the decision, and in the move,
as they can possibly be:
•In the choice of where to live.
•Plan joint advance visits and talk with several residents.
•Have more than one meal in the communities they prefer.
•Many assisted living communities offer weekend visits to
help potential residents make a decision. (Most also offer
this as ‘respite care’ to give families a break from care
giving, or to see that a parent is cared for if their
caregiver children need to go out of town for a limited time.)
10. Where do I turn with problems which may come up?
No living arrangement is perfect. There are many frightening
stories out there, and many heartwarming ones as well. My
experience is that most people serving the needs of seniors
are dedicated, hard working, resourceful and caring people.
If problems do arise, and if you want to anticipate them,
research your parent’s chosen community through a local
ombudsperson. These senior advocates inspect and rate
communities and know which ones are safe, clean and well
managed. You can also seek out an elder care attorney that
specializes in the legal needs and rights of seniors.
These questions, their explanations, and the suggestions
represent a good start on figuring out how to best move
your parent into assisted living. It is impossible to
cover all the angles in such an article because there are
so many variables that every family brings to this situation.
Use this list both as a way to get started on this journey
and as a guide to help you come up with your own questions
that apply to your unique situation.
Ten Questions To Consider when Moving a Parent into Assisted Living
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The choice to move into a senior living
community is as individual as the person
making the decision. There is no clear-cut,
step-by-step template that tells people
exactly when it is time to consider a senior
living community, whether that be an
independent living community, assisted living
community or nursing home. However, there are
numerous signs that a new living arrangement
is needed, such as inability to manage a home's
upkeep, assistance with meals, medication
management, loneliness, and other issues.
"Choice" is the key word in any conversation
about senior living options. Senior living
offers choice about where you or your loved one
wants to live, choice about the services
provided, and choice about the level of care and
type of environment that bests matches your or
your loved one's physical and emotional needs.
Each senior living resident and potential resident
is a unique individual, so high-quality senior
living residences offer a wide array of choices.
While every senior living community is different,
typical services include:
Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing,
toileting, and walking
Access to health and medical services
Alzheimer's and memory care
Staff available to respond to both scheduled
and unscheduled needs
Emergency call systems for each resident'
Exercise and wellness programs
Personal laundry services
Social and recreational activities
Choosing a Senior Living Community
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Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted Living Facilities .org
The Assisted Living Federation of America
ASSESS YOUR NEEDS AND MAKE THE BEST SENIOR LIVING
National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL)
Nursing Home Abuse Center
Nursing Home Abuse Guide
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Aging in place
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