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Five ways to ease your parent’s transition into an assisted-living community

August 24, 2021

When the time comes for a conversation about assisted living, many questions are sure to follow.

Matching a community that keeps up with your parent’s lifestyle and medical needs is the top priority. The family will settle for nothing less. So, as you begin to notice signs that your parent needs that little extra assistance, your focus will be on this major life decision.

Where do you start? There is no one right answer, but know that with some guidance, you can begin a positive and productive dialogue about the benefits of assisted living. 

Start the conversation

Sometimes the most difficult part is bridging the topic. If now is the time to consider assisted living, approach the conversation with greater urgency.

It is a big and timely decision that should involve your parent from the start.

Topics should include lifestyle expectations and budget. Talk honestly about your family’s resources that will go toward providing the best arrangements possible. During early talks, address and settle any disagreements with the help of other family members who will be impacted by the decision.

Finally, remember that your mother and father may not be ready for this discussion. Including them early on in the conversation builds trust, even if they are not yet fully engaged. An outside mediator can also help put discussions back on track. Also realize that assisted living communities have evolved over the years and are no longer the “nursing homes” of the past, that your parents may remember.

Plan out financing

Costs can be a factor.

Assisted-living communities will accommodate every need. When your family determines the level of care needed, assessing how much you can afford each month is the next step.

Savings or long-term care insurance can be key to finding the best fit. While most families use private funds, private insurance, Medicare and VA benefits are other resources.

At this point, if you have not already done so, ask your mother or father to discuss their financial situation.

Digging into the numbers as early as possible is important. This allows the family to save up and plan the transition.

Go over expectations

Your parent will want to understand how the assisted care will help and improve their daily life. Note their perception of their capabilities may be different from the reality

As your mother or father prepare for this major transition, they can gain peace of mind by learning as much as possible about what life will be like moving forward.

Talk about their needs, highlight communities, their amenities, help them understand the health and lifestyle benefits of living in assisted living. Do consult with an advisor who specializes in assisted-living care to provide further information to the entire family.

Plan a visit

Nowadays, it is simple to visit and tour a community virtually. While brochures and websites give a peek, it is best to do a walk-through.  

One can start with a virtual visit, and then schedule a follow-up, in-person tour to get a better feel for the residents, staff and the accommodations.

When you are ready to visit in person, bring a list of questions and take notes during the walk-through.

Getting ready for the move

Any delays to moving forward can put your parent’s well-being at risk. Families can prepare for the big move with a little planning ahead.

As you and your parent proceed, take steps to consolidate possessions. Downsizing is an opportunity to host a yard sale or make donations to a charitable organization. There are also companies that specialize in helping you through the process

This also is the time to gather and manage any legal matters and documents. Medical, tax and other important documents must be reviewed and safely stored. Has your mother or father made an Advanced Health Directive? Do you need to have Power of Attorney over your mother or father’s finances? (This can be a sensitive issue.)

Finally, as the moving date approaches, begin to plan and coordinate the move. Whether it is done by the family or a moving company, an organized move will reduce stress for everyone involved.

Want to know more about senior living options near you?

Figuring out the best option for your loved one is most important for their physical, emotional and mental health. With more and more choices becoming available, this decision can be a difficult one to make. At Hollenbeck Palms, we will ensure that your loved one is healthy, active, happy, and safe. Contact us today to hear more about what we offer to see if we are the right fit for your family.