Tips on Moving a Parent into Assisted Living

For many adults, putting a parent in assisted living is a difficult decision. After all, most of those who are reasonably healthy and independent are not likely to be agreeable to the idea of leaving their homes. In many instances, the situation would be much easier to resolve if the conversation is started long before the time comes for the transition. Aging parents are not as likely to be stunned by the idea of going into an assisted living facility if they have had the discussion before.

Denial can be just as detrimental to the child as it is to the parent. Guilty feelings often accompany the decision to put a parent into a nursing home or assisted care. As a result, they may wait until a crisis occurs to make the move. When that happens, the parent may be confused and the child unsure of how to go about finding and selecting the best facility for their parent’s care. When assisted living is a common topic between adult children and parents, it is a lot easier for both when the time comes to make the move.

Take a Tour

Finding the right facility is the most important factor in having a simple transition. According to, licensing requirements differ according to state. Find out what the requirements are in your state. You should also research the facilities available within your area and learn what each offers. Ask if they offer transportation to appointments, whether they have outside activities or on-site extended medical care. Once you have a basic idea of your best options, take your parent on a tour of the site with you if possible. One advantage of starting the process before a crisis occurs is being able to make them a part of the selection and decision-making process.

After the Move

The Society for Social Work and Research reported the results of a study on the impact of moving to an assisted living facility. The conclusion was that depression and lower satisfaction with life can occur if the person is socially isolated once moving to the facility. If you are concerned that moving your parent to a senior residence could result in these feelings, you can look for one that has on-site mental services or offers group counseling sessions to help new members deal with their feelings.

If your parent requires only minimal care and is still active, make sure you find a facility that is willing to accommodate their specific needs. In addition, they should have access to plenty of activities that will help keep them alert and active for as long as possible. Going to an ALF should never be a step down in capabilities. The idea is to provide the assistance that they need to perform tasks that have become more difficult or impossible for them to do. The best choice will result in their being able to do even more than they could when they were living alone.

Tips on Finding Assistant Living for Dementia Patients

Watching parents age and become frail is a normal part of life for most adults. When a parent develops Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, the process becomes even more difficult. Nothing is more devastating than watching your parent’s memories and personality slip away. As their condition progresses, they will need more care until they are unable to be left alone for any length of time. To protect them and those around them, placing them into assisted living may be your only choice.

Choosing an assisted living facility for a parent that is physically challenged is one thing. Finding the right match for a parent with dementia has an entirely different set of circumstances and requirements. Their spouse may still be living in their home but no longer has the ability to provide the needed care. They may be confused about who you are or where they are. Putting them in a strange place may be met with hostility, confusion, or depression.

An article in U.S. News talks about one family’s choice in an assisted living facility with a “memory care unit” that was designed specifically for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. A number of facilities are adding services that are specifically geared towards these patients.

Round-the-Clock Supervision

People with dementia like to roam. They are incredibly apt at getting out of their rooms and homes, sometimes being found many miles from home. One of the most important services any assisted living facility can offer for dementia patients is round-the-clock supervision to prevent the patient’s being able to put themselves at risk. At the same time, they should offer privacy and space to let them live their life as fully as possible.

Eating Assistance

During the later stages of Alzheimer’s, patients stop eating. They no longer feel hunger or have the compulsion to eat. Nothing is as heartbreaking as showing up to visit a parent to find that they have dropped large amounts of weight simply because they have stopped eating. When looking for an assisted living facility for your parent with dementia, learn their policy for feeding the residents at the time they move in and when their condition becomes worse. Make sure they will have a dedicated feeder for every meal of the day.

AARP states in an article that many patients with Alzheimer’s would benefit from living in an assisted living facility. While many professionals agree with this assessment, it is important to find a facility that is uniquely qualified to provide that degree of care. It is also important to understand that the same degree of care they require initially will not be enough as their condition progresses.

A facility with a dedicated Alzheimer’s unit is most likely to offer the type of skills and services that the dementia patient requires. Although some facilities accept Alzheimer’s patients with other residents, they rarely have the type of devoted care that a person with dementia requires on a daily basis. As the Alzheimer’s Association tells us, meeting the needs of the individual is the most important part of the decision.

The Financial Aspect of Assisted Living

For many seniors, the choice between going to a nursing home or an assisted living facility is in their future. Once an aging adult is living alone and unable to care for themselves, these are often the only options they have available to them. Assisted living facilities differ in the way they are set up and in what they have to offer. In some, residents have their own room while others include an entire apartment.

The cost of assisted living depends on the facility and the specific services the resident requires. According to Medicare, most facilities charge monthly rent with fees determined separately for any services obtained. If you are on Medicare, it isn’t going to pay for the entire cost of assisted living. Many people pay out-of-pocket, sometimes until they no longer have the necessary funds and then they go on Medicaid to pick up the balance that Medicare doesn’t pay.

The state that you live in will also play a role in the cost of care. AARP has an online calculator that helps individuals determine how much they may expect to pay according to the area and the type of care they need. The average monthly cost in the country is $3,600 but that price can be significantly lower or higher, depending on the state of residence. Those with special care needs such as Alzheimer’s patients also pay significantly more.

Tips for Making Assisted Living More Affordable

Planning ahead and doing research on your options will help lower your cost. Some facilities have waiting lists. If the one you are interested in does, get on it now. Otherwise, an unexpected illness or accident could resort in your having to go to a residence that is available and a lot more expensive.

Do your research and evaluate the details of the contract. If you don’t understand any of the lingo, it is worthwhile to have an attorney look it over. Make it your goal to find the right facility the first time around. Otherwise, you could end up moving more than once and spending a lot more than you can afford.

Look for an Assisted Living Facility with Flexible Services

Many assisted living facilities are expanding the services they offer to meet the needs of a diverse population of seniors. There is no need to pay for those you don’t need. Find a facility that lets you choose the options and services that are right for you. You will get the assistance you need and retain the freedom to do the things for yourself that you are still able to do.

Another step that you can take before you or a loved one is ready for assisted living is to take out long-term care insurance. This coverage may be what you need to pay the difference that Medicare and/or Medicaid doesn’t pay.

The sooner you start thinking about moving to an assisted living community, the more research you can do. Learn everything you can and make an educated decision for you or your loved one.

Is It Time to Find Senior Housing for Your Parent?

It can be difficult to accept that your aging parent is no longer able to take care of the tasks required for everyday living. When you see your parent frequently, some of the signs may be easy to miss. It is important to recognize the signs that your parent may be struggling. The Senior Citizens Bureau cites physical changes and those in your parent’s environment as indicators that it might be time to start looking into senior housing.

When you visit your parent at home, observe the setting to determine if there are any obvious changes. Are items that are normally put away left strewn about? Are bills being paid on time or are they still lying around the house? Look to see if there are any noticeable changes in the house that might indicate your parent is becoming forgetful or may not be feeling up to par. If there are any signs there, you will need to determine if there is a medical problem or simply normal signs of aging.

Changes in Personal Appearance and Hygiene

When seniors start having difficulty managing the tasks that have always been simple for them, they may simply let them go. Sometimes a lack of memory can explain the changes you see in their appearance. Your father may stop being as consistent about shaving while your mother may no longer take pains at applying her makeup. There is also a possibility that either parent will develop body odor due to a lack of personal hygiene.

Lack of Social Interest

If your parent has lost interest in spending time with friends and loved ones, they may be suffering from depression. If your parent is always at home, this may be a symptom of depression or a sign that they are no longer confident enough to go out on their own. Activities provided in a senior housing community can alleviate the loneliness your parent is feeling. In addition, medical care is provided in some communities to treat depression and any medical conditions that your parent may have.

Don’t wait for your parent to admit to you that they are having difficulty functioning. Independence is very important to seniors and they are not often forthcoming with the information that they are having problems. Any time that things aren’t getting done, there is a possibility that there is a problem. Make sure you find out the extent of the problem and get your parent the help they need as quickly as possible. This could make the difference in the progression of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Types of Senior Housing

According to Senior Living, there are a number of lifestyle options under the heading of senior housing. These include independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing centers, Alzheimer’s and memory care, and others. An evaluation of your parent’s condition will help you determine whether senior housing is the right choice for them right now and, if so, which type of housing is best for them.

How to Make Assisted Living Feel Like Home

Making the transition to an assisted living facility is even more difficult for some seniors than for others. Even though the family may have taken pains to find the perfect facility for their loved one’s needs, it is hard to feel at home in a strange environment. There are some things the family can do to help their loved one make the adjustment and start feeling like they really have found a new home.

The Value of Photographs

Few seniors value anything more than their families and their years of memories they have shared with them. Nothing adds to this feeling more than photographs. Don’t just bring the photo album, but framed photos that can be used to decorate the room or apartment. Photos are also good for people who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s to help with memory.

Encourage Them to Get Involved in Activities

Assisted living facilities are expanding to offer a number of activities to their residents to keep them socially and physically active. Becoming a member of the community by participating in these activities will help give your loved one a sense of belonging. It can also give them the opportunity to try new things and occupy their time. At the same time, accommodate them with items they need to keep up existing hobbies or routines. Moving to assisted living shouldn’t mean doing without the things they had in their own home.

The Huffington Post recommends bringing a CD player and some of their favorite music to their new home. The psychological impact of music can help calm any anxiety your loved one may be feeling during the move.

Visit When You Can and Send Care Packages between Visits

Nothing is more valuable to your loved one than getting visits from family members. Visit as much as possible and encourage other family members to do the same. Send flowers or care packages every so often, filled with a variety of their favorite things. Even if you don’t live that far away, they will love getting the packages that remind them that someone cares about them.

Stay in Communication

Make sure your loved one has a telephone and get the phone number out to your extended family. Nothing is more natural than reaching for the phone to call a parent or child. Make phone conversations a regular part of your routine. It is the closest thing to being right there with them. Regular conversations also let you know if there are changes in behavior that might signal a problem.

If you notice changes in your loved one’s behavior or attitudes, don’t hesitate to take action. According to Forbes, you have the right to know your loved one’s status and their needs for ongoing care. You can request a care conference to learn about important changes in your loved one’s health. The most important

Different Types of Senior Housing

There are a number of types of senior housing, with each becoming more diverse in its offerings. When choosing the best type of senior housing for a family member, you will need to understand what each type of housing is and match it to the needs and personality of the individual. The challenge is in finding the type of housing and the setting that will make your loved one feel at home. These are the types of senior living communities available as listed by AARP.

  • Age Restricted Communities – These facilities limit their residents to those of ages 55 and over. They include a variety of home types such as single-family houses, apartments or townhomes. These communities are like a typical neighborhood where each home is connected to the others while there are activities available to anyone who wants to participate.
  • Senior Apartments – This type of senior housing is defined more by price tag than any other need. Some are made to accommodate low income seniors while others are luxury apartments that come at a higher-than-average cost.
  • Cohousing – This is the only type of senior housing that allows residents to play a role in how the community is designed and operated. Each home is privately owned but there are usually common facilities such as swimming pools or tennis courts. These homes are designed as a place where residents will grow older. Often, the cost of health aids or other types of medical caregivers is shared.
  • Assisted Living – While the first three options are generally for seniors who are still active and can take care of most tasks independently, some seniors require a little help. Most assisted living facilities are designed as apartments where personal care providers provide the help each resident needs with basic daily activities according to their needs.
  • Nursing Homes – These senior living facilities may offer temporary or permanent care to seniors while they are recovering from an illness or injury or after they have become unable to care for themselves due to normal aging. Nursing homes typically keep a doctor on staff in addition to nurses who help perform daily activities, such as checking vitals, administering medications, or providing medical care.
  • Continuing-Care Retirement Communities – Most of the seniors who enter these apartments or homes do so as independent individuals. If their condition deteriorates over time, they many enter into an assisted living tier or to a nursing home tier if they require more intensive care. explains that active adult communities might be the right choice for seniors who are still active and independent and are capable of maintaining their own home. The distinct difference between these communities and those that offer assisted living is just that. While the residents may require additional services to help them in their daily function, many are still active and enjoy being around their peers.

Making the right choice in the type of senior housing you get for your loved one will ensure they get the care and the activities they need to be active and healthy.

Current Trends in Assisted Living

Assisted living communities have brought about more freedom to seniors and peace of mind to their loved ones. Many adults with aging parents have found that these senior communities offer a better quality of life to seniors than putting them in a nursing home. An article in U.S. News talks about the specific benefits offered at some retirement communities that offer assisted living. Due to the increasing popularity of the concept, more communities are adding features that enhance the lifestyle for a broader range of residents.

A Growing Number of Men in Assisted Living

There are more men who are living into their senior years than ever before. As baby boomers reach retirement age, we can also expect a greater increase in the number of men who reach their senior years who also have limitations on the activities they are capable of performing on their own. According to Gallup, only one-third of the oldest baby boomers (ages 67 – 68) in the United States are working today. Another contributing factor towards the trend towards having more men in assisted facilities is due to the number of senior men who have no children or other family members to help care for them.

More Conservative Care Options

Many of the seniors who make the move to assisted living communities require regular medical care. On-premises nursing services have long been a part of the standard services offered by the majority of the facilities. But there are also a large number of people who require only minimal assistance to perform their daily tasks. Those with arthritis may have difficulty getting dressed but are still capable of preparing food, doing laundry, or other basic necessities of life. The diversity of seniors has led to a trend towards a broader range of care levels to accommodate a variety of needs.

In addition to the various extents of medical care offered, many senior care facilities are offering additional amenities and activities to add to the quality of life for many. Restaurant-style meal services, age-appropriate fitness classes, and transportation to local activities are some of the offerings that more facilities are incorporating to their list of services.

Theme-Based Senior Care

While many senior car facilities are expanding the basic services they offer, some facilities are focusing on a theme. For example, eco-friendly facilities for people who have an interest in making less of an environmental impact when they retire can make them feel better about making important choices. Pet-friendly assisted living is also growing in popularity due to the impact pets have on seniors’ health and happiness.

Finding Peace of Mind

The number one reason that adults choose assisted living for their aging parents is to get peace of mind. Busy lives and being separated by great distances make it impossible for many adults to provide the care their aging parents need. Those who require medical care require a different kind of assistance than a nursing home can provide. Assisted living is the solution for all of these situations.

Common Mistakes People Make When Looking for an Assisted Living Facility

Most people end up looking for an assisted living facility (ALF) during a time of urgency. Most often, it is after a parent or loved one has become ill, lost a spouse, or gone through some other life-altering event. The rush to find a facility that they can afford and which has an available spot for them can cause them to make poor choices when it comes to choosing a facility that meets the needs of the individual. Consumer Reports advises people to start searching from six months to a year before the facility becomes a necessity.

Making the choice to send a loved one to an assisted living facility is a life-changing event that adds to an already overwhelming situation. There is no room for error in the final choice. Once the decision is made that the move will be made, the next step is to determine the features that are most important. This is the area where most mistakes are made.

Don’t Underestimate the Type and Degree of Care They Need

There are different types of ALFs that deliver a variety of levels of care. If your loved one needs more care than you realize or they have a condition that is likely to advance significantly in the near future, make sure you choose a facility that will be equipped to meet the demand. The information that you need to determine the answer to this part of the search is going to come from your loved one’s doctor. Ask about the needs of the patient and what you can expect to change in the future.

Don’t Overestimate Your Role in Providing Care

Sometimes people make a decision based on the facility that is closest to their home or work place. They want to have their loved one in a place that is close enough for them to visit every day. Although this may seem reasonable in the beginning, reality rarely plays out that way. It is virtually impossible for anyone with a normal schedule to fit a daily visit into their routine. If there is a better choice in a facility a few miles away, remember your priority to choose the facility that is best for them.

Choose a Facility That Is Right for the “Now” Them

It is easy to get stuck on the image you have of a parent or loved one as they have always been in your mind. When looking for a place where they will probably spend the rest of their lives, you need to look for the qualities, activities, and surroundings that will have the most positive impact and improve their quality of life. Psych Central tells us that research has shown benefits to aging seniors in areas where there are blue and green spaces. The encourage them to go outside where they may be further motivated to do and enjoy more.

One of the best ways to avoid making these and other mistakes is by planning before the situation becomes urgent. The more time you have to plan, the easier it will be to make the right choice in an assisted living facility.

Advantages Assisted Living Offers to Seniors

No decision an adult will ever make can so easily inflict guilt as the one to place an adult parent into an assistant living facility. Too often, the difficulty in making the call can cause them to put it off until the situation becomes urgent. To alleviate the guilt, children should understand that they are not inflicting a punishment on their parents. Instead, they are putting them into a living situation that will allow them to be more independent while giving you peace of mind.

Seniors often rebel against the idea of moving into a senior living facility because it means sacrificing the home that they have lived in, possibly for decades. No one like change on that scale. What children can’t predict is the satisfaction and security that an assisted living facility can bring into their parents lives. Once they have made the initial transition, they are more likely to feel at home and begin enjoying the options they have available that didn’t exist for them before.

A Matter of Safety

One of the most important advantages an assisted living facility offers seniors is that of greater safety. As people age, their vision and balance decline, often causing falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that millions of people aged 65 and older fall each year. Of those, one in five results in a serious injury including fractures and head injuries. One fall could take away the independence that your parent is fighting to keep.

Living in assisted living helps prevent the risk of falls in two ways. They offer 24/7 caregiver response and facilities are made with safety features to address the problem. Not only does the individual’s aging condition increase their risk of falls. The condition of their home can greatly increase the likelihood of falling. Broken steps, frozen sidewalks, and loose rugs are just some of the ways that seniors are at greater risk of injury when living in their own homes. When they are in assisted living, neither of you ever have to worry about them falling and having no one to help them.

Expanding Their Social Life

Some people experience loneliness and depression, particularly after the loss of a spouse. After a period of time, they may develop a deep depression that prevents them from wanting to leave home or take part in activities they previously enjoyed. Their new home becomes a place where they can share their interests and hobbies with others who enjoy the same things.

Saving Money

Many people talk about the high cost of assisted living. But as the New York Times points out, maintaining a home requires a great deal of money. Replacing a bad furnace, putting on a new roof, keeping chimneys clean and landscaping are just some of the expenses that can cost thousands. For many seniors, living in an assisted living facility is actually less expensive than maintaining their own home.

These are just some of the benefits seniors can gain from moving to assisted living. Depending on their specific needs, they may be even more to gain.

A Forecast on the Future of Assisted Living

There are many factors that impact the decisions adults make about the care for their aging parents. Many prefer to place their parents into assisted living where they get the help they need while still retaining their independence. With the baby booms reaching retirement age and an increase in the life expectancy of seniors, the one-million residents in assisted living facilities now is expected to double by the year 2030. However, according to SBDC Net, the economy could have an impact on that number.

The Impact of a Struggling Economy

Americans have been seeing a slow recovery of the economy following the recent recession. As a result, the rate of growth in the senior housing industry has dwindled. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of Americans aged 65 and older will double between the years of 2010 and 2050. Many of the available facilities are also becoming more expensive as the demand for assisted living increases and more services are being offered.

Although there are many reasons that the economy might seemingly impact the ability of seniors to move into assisted living facilities in the future, there are also some advantages. Other changes will also make a difference in whether assisted living is the best option, both financially and for the individual.

The End of the Nursing Home

In the past, nursing homes were the only option for seniors that were unable to live alone. With the various type of senior housing becoming available which offer a wide degree of care levels, that model of care has been steadily declining. Nursing homes typically provide a higher level of care than assisted living, even though many seniors don’t require it. For many, all that is needed is help with daily grooming chores or with taking medications. Assisted living is a more practical option that offers care on the level of the individual whether it encompasses medical care, help running errands, or anything in-between.

Although many families are concerned with the high costs of assisted living, it is often a more affordable alternative to skilled nursing. This will become even more evident as cuts to Medicare and Medicaid programs prevent seniors from getting the care they need privately.

An Expansion of New Technology

Technology touches every part of our lives. It should come as no surprise that it will have an impact on the quality of care seniors receive in assisted living in the future. Although assisted care robots are likely to be more of a high-end option for those who can afford to pay the highest out-of-pocket costs for care, computerized systems that monitor medications and vital signs before sending wireless signals to care providers or responders as needed are more realistic for every resident.

More Amenities and Activities to Improve Quality of Live

Medical services are already a part of most assisted living facilities. Many have added activities both onsite and offsite to keep seniors active. In the future, this idea is expected to grow as more seniors who are still capable of being active will require assisted living care.