If you have elderly parents, it is probably a good idea to sit down and have a conversation with them about assisted living. Even if they are in fairly good health, a crisis could occur at any time, and it would be to their advantage to have a plan in place.
When parents have to go into an assisted living community, you want to make sure that it's the right facility for them. If possible, you should go with your parents and tour different places. Make sure you are armed with questions as all assisted living communities are not equal. Dine at the places to determine how good the food is. If your parents have dietary needs, make sure the kitchen can work with them. Strike up conversations with residents to see if they like living there. Personal testimonials offer the best guidance.
There are a number of factors to consider if a residence is a good fit for your parents. Expenses are number one as you will have to pick a community that they can afford. High also on the list is the quality of care. You want competent caregivers that are not going to put your loved ones at risk. What is the ratio of caretakers to residents, and what kind of training did they receive? Is there a nurse available around the clock?
Check to see if the assisted care has visiting doctors or nurse practitioners. If your parents are not very mobile, having health care professionals come into the community would make it very convenient for them.
If one of your parents has dementia problems and needs sitting or respite care services, ask if those are provided. If not, you may have to hire an outside agency to come in. Does the community offer long term care? If that's not the case, your parents may have to move again into a more skilled nursing situation when the circumstances warrant it.
Find out what services are included in the monthly fee. House cleaning, washed linens, meals, and transportation to doctor offices are some of the things typically included. How does the assisted care charge for assistance? Normally residents get a prescribed number of visits a day. However, if they go over that on occasion, some places will frequently charge extra. Others have levels of care where they won't charge unless they are consistently being asked for extra help.
Look at the activities offered, trips to shopping centers and other outings. What amenities do they have on site? Is there a hair salon, movie theater, pool and gym? Do residents have a say in what activities will be offered. Is there an in-house religious service? Are pets allowed?
Going into assisted living can be a difficult change. For your parents, it is a necessary step that can provide them with the care that they need while allowing them to live as independently as possible.