You don’t have to figure this out on your own.Use this FREE guide to help you on your journey.
Seniors want to stay active and engaged in life and community, so it’s never too early to start researching senior living options.
Like you, seniors value choice, dignity, independence, and quality of life. That’s what assisted living is all about.
But the thought of moving to assisted living brings with it a lot of questions:
This resource will help you know:
1. When it’s time for some assistance and what type of senior care to look for
2. How to find the assistance and community needed
Step 1 – Identify Care Needs
One sign that it might be time for senior care is that you are getting burned out from care-giving. Other signs are listed below and may mean that your loved one now needs more help than you can provide.
The symptoms are broken down by level. As you read through the descriptions below, in which level are most of your concerns found?
Your loved one:
- Is lonely or concerned about being alone
- Has a chronic illness (dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s)
- Needs help with housekeeping or making meals
- Keeps food after it’s expired
- Is experiencing weight gain or loss
- Is forgetful or loses or misplaces things
- Uses a cane or walker
- Needs a lift chair
- Has had 1 fall in the last 12 months
Your loved one:
- Experiences memory loss or confusion
- Repeats questions or requests
- Does not take medication correctly
- Wets the bed or needs bathroom reminders
- Has irregular sleep patterns
- Uses incontinence pads or briefs or has a catheter
- Skips meals, or forgets he/she has already eaten
- Has difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Experiences depression
- Has had 2 falls in the last 12 months
Your loved one:
- Uses a wheelchair or hospital bed
- Needs help getting around (e.g. getting up from bed or getting to the bathroom)
- Wanders away from home or gets lost
- Sees or hears things or people that aren’t there
- Needs assistance with clothing/getting dressed
- Repeatedly removes clothing or wears extra clothing
- Needs assistance showering
- Hits or slaps people or has inappropriate sexual behaviors
- Is unable to make decisions (due to confusion, etc.)
- Has had 3 or more falls in the last 12 months
In what level were most of your concerns found? (Read this article to understand the acronyms used in talking about senior care.)
Level 1 – RCAC or Home Care.
Level 2 – CBRF (Assisted Living)
Level 3 – CBRF (Specialized Assisted Living), Nursing Home
Step 2 – Identify Resources
Wondering if assisted living is the right choice?
Assisted living communities offer amenities, services, and care in a setting with the comforts of home.
They serve seniors who require assistance with:
- meal preparation
- medication management
- personal care
- specialized care for Alzheimer’s or dementia
They usually provide the following services:
- dining services
- personal laundry
- health and wellness
- social and recreational activities
And they offer care in the areas of:
- continence assistance
- medication management
- memory loss
If you feel overwhelmed, you have resources to support you:
- Which friends or family members have some experience in this area?
- Your local Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) has many free resources and knowledgeable people to help take the confusion out of aging.
- Your loved one’s doctor or a local gerontologist (elder care specialist) can be a wealth of information.
- A local priest, pastor, rabbi, or other religious leader can provide care, spiritual guidance, and may be able to share their personal experiences with various local senior communities.
- Frontida Assisted Living can also help you sort through what you’re going through, what your next step should be, and how to find a community that meets your needs.
Step 3 – Create An Action Plan
Once you are familiar with what you need, it’s time to create an action plan. Finding senior care doesn’t usually happen overnight. Finding the right fit takes time and dedication. This checklist may help you organize your thoughts and the steps you will need to take:
- Where is your loved one now (home, hospital, nursing home, rehab, etc.)?
- What is your timeline for moving your loved one?
- What kind of care will your loved one need?
- Which type of senior community will meet your loved ones needs now and in the future (RCAC, CBRF, Specialized Assisted Living, Nursing Home)?
- What are your options for the type of community you are looking for? (If you aren’t sure, use your local ADRC as a resource.)
- Set up tours with the communities you are considering and know what you are looking for as you tour.
- Become familiar with the lingo used so you can navigate the maze of terms.
- Discuss options with loved ones that are involved.
- Get on a waiting list if you have some time to wait.
- Keep your senior involved in every step of the process, if possible.
- Once it’s time to move in, know how to make their new home as home-like as possible and help them adjust to their new surroundings.
- Get creative when you visit so that visits are something to look forward to.
- Stay informed on topics related to aging, watch for signs of depression, meet the emotional needs of seniors, and learn how to handle memory loss and the physical effects it can have, and stop memory loss from ruining the day.
Worried about how to pay for assisted living? This article may bring some relief.
Other helpful information on:
Caring for the Elderly
Good Times with the Senior(s) you Love
Preparing For Assisted Living
Assisted Living Information
Elizabeth Daghfal is a writer, teacher, speaker, and community volunteer. When she isn't teaching or writing-- Who are we kidding? Her husband and five kids say she's ALWAYS teaching and writing. She has a passion to help people who are struggling and is happy to say her shoulders are drip-dry. Born and raised in the South, she now lives in Wisconsin and loves it--except for the fifteen months of winter. Read more about her at elizabethdaghfal.com.