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.