It isn’t easy making the decision for a loved one to move into assisted living. However, there are some common mistakes you can avoid in order to find the best community for your loved one and his or her needs.
SEE: Signs Your Senior is Ready for Assisted Living
1. Not Being Aware of Support Needs
After the decision that assisted living is needed has been made, it is crucial to consider the specific amount of support your loved one needs currently and in the future. When families don’t consult their loved one’s doctor about his or her specific needs and health trajectory, it often results in a senior having to move more than once. Making sure that the community you select has the support network that is needed will result in a much more comfortable experience for both your family and senior.
2. Making Hasty Decisions
Even if assisted living is required quickly, it is important to visit at least three different communities. When families move their loved one right away without considering their options, they lose opportunities to make their loved one’s experience more personalized. By visiting several communities, you are able to learn what makes each community unique.
SEE: Senior Living: Understanding Your Options
3. Taking This Process On Alone
Many people try to handle all of the decision making by themselves. Instead of taking this all on alone, it is helpful to reach out to family, friends or colleagues that have been through the process. It can also help to include your loved one’s doctor and medical support team.
4. Focusing Too Much On Aesthetics
It is easy to get wooed by the look of the building, but it shouldn’t be the determining factor. A better way to gauge the community during a community visit is to grab a few minutes to talk to current residents on what they like about their home. Also, paying attention to the staff can be a clear indicator. If the team appears happy and engaged, this is a great sign.
5. Not Considering Your Loved One’s Wishes
A very common mistake that is made in this process is not including your loved one in the decision-making process. It is important to have a shared conversation with him or her about what he or she would like out of their potential home. Including your loved one in the decision can be rewarding for both parties and make for an easier transition.
6. Not Physically Visiting Communities
Many families believe they can pick an assisted living community based solely on website highlights, reviews or brochures. These are all helpful pieces, but it is very important to get a chance to visit the physical location and meet the team of employees. Many communities will invite you to visit during mealtime or an event, which can offer a lot of insight on if the community is a good fit.
RELATED: Download Community Checklist
7. Not Paying Enough Attention to Healthcare Services
It is common that families consider location more than they consider healthcare support services. Although both are important, the healthcare services available will be integral to your loved one’s success. When you take a visit, be sure to ask for details on healthcare support and how your loved one will get the care he or she needs.
8. Waiting Too Long To Move
No one wants to move away from their home, but often, maintaining a home and one’s own healthcare needs can be too much. Delaying the move-in process can be detrimental to your loved one and can result in a preventable accident. Discuss the benefits with your loved one and choose a move-in date that works for both parties.
Making the initial decision that assisted living is necessary is the hard part. Avoiding common mistakes can be easy. Keep in mind that this decision is important and requires an informed approach.
Here are our community directors, Kim and Debbie, sharing what they think makes a community special: