WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS AND CONCERNS ABOUT ASSISTED LIVING?
The decision to put a family member in a senior care facility such as an assisted living center is a hard but often unavoidable one to make. Though the choice is absolutely essential, the individual forced to make such a decision for their parent or spouse may feel a devastating sense of guilt. But when you realize that your senior family member requires the kind of assistance that you are no longer able to provide, there is no way other than moving him/her to an assisted living facility. Then you have to find out the right assisted living facility for your loved where he/she will be cared for properly and can live a happy and healthy life.
You may first think about a nearby facility that you admire due to its colonial architecture and gorgeous landscaping. But you should understand that the quality of an assisted living facility can’t be determined just by its outward appearance. You must learn about several other things such as staffing, how well the residents are being cared for, what are the costs etc. Here are some pitfalls you must avoid when choosing an assisted living center for your senior family member:
Failing to look beyond looks
Even though an assisted living center has attractive looks, luxurious amenities, beautiful landscaping, and a price tag, it may not necessarily be the right place where your loved one will get the best care. Before choosing an assisted living center for your parent, visit some facilities and learn how satisfied and happy the residents are. If the residents appear gloomy or depressed, it is not a good sign.
Making a choice based on the way your loved one used to be
There could have been a time when your mom had been a great hostess in the neighborhood or your dad played golf. You should understand that those days are gone. Now your mom may no longer be comfortable with many people around or your father has trouble remembering the days when he had been playing golf. You must make your choice based on the current needs of your parent.
Giving importance to your likes and ignoring the preferences of your parent
You may enter an assisted living setting and feel it looks great with its fascinating design, lovely dining room, charming overall appearance, and plenty of social and recreational activities. But you should give importance to the things your parent finds significant as well. If your parent is still capable to think, understand and make decisions, get him/her involved as far as possible. If you allow the elderly to be a part of the decision-making process, he/she won’t feel left out of the crucial discussion regarding his/her future.
Failing to understand the additional expenses
In case your elderly parent needs a hospital stay, make sure that you have a clear understanding about the expenses associated with the situation. Your loved one may take some time to recover, which means he/she needs additional help. Will your parent be shifted temporarily to a nursing home or will the assisted living facility bring in a private aide routinely? Learn about all standard practice and associated costs.
Just skimming through the contract
Instead of just skimming through the contract, read it carefully. Though most of the assisted living contracts are pretty straightforward, there could be some confusing jargons. Before signing the contract, you must clearly understand all the terms you are agreeing to.
Concerns about Assisted Living
Now let’s have a look at some common concerns people have about assisted living. Many concerns that keep you away from assisted living are actually misunderstandings. Here are some of them:
It will be very costly
Many people think that assisted living communities are too expensive. But the actual costs could be lower than what you think. Assisted living is generally less expensive than nursing home or home health care in the same geographic area. It is actually available in different price ranges based on the care you need.
It will cause loss of independence
People often think they won’t enjoy an independent lifestyle if they are moved from their home to an assisted living setting. But the truth is that most residents living in assisted living communities find they are far more independent than they had been when living in their own homes. In assisted living, the residents are free from cooking, paying bills, and other household activities. In their own house, elderly people are often at the mercy of their family members for transportation as they are unable to drive. But in assisted living, they can go out whenever they want using the available transportation options. Nobody will restrict your activity in any way and there will be compassionate staff to care for you whenever you need.
The food will be poor
You may think that you won’t be served great food as in your own home if you are placed in an assisted living facility. But good assisted living facilities serve fresh, well-prepared, healthy and nutrient-rich food for its residents. In addition to three wholesome meals per day, snacks are available throughout the day.
The residents have to participate in all activities
Another misconception is that assisted living residents have to take part in all the activities offered by the facility. The fact is that all the activity programs are voluntary. In assisted living no one will force you to do anything. You can either participate in the activities or stay in your apartment unit without any disturbance.
It will cause loss of privacy
Many people are worried of losing privacy. In fact, assisted living offers more privacy when compared to home care. The assistance will be given only when a resident needs it.
Assisted living residents won’t be able to have hobbies
Assisted living communities dedicated staff members who plans as well as organizes a number of activities for the residents, such as bingo, book clubs, and fitness programs. The residents can enjoy a variety hobbies and activities.