4 Questions Families are Asking Assisted Living Experts Right Now
Moving your loved one to assisted living is a huge transition that comes with a lot of questions. If this is your first time searching for senior living options, you might not even know where to start. Fortunately, staff members at assisted living communities work with families every single day to ensure their parent or senior loved one is in the right environment for their needs. And, it’s likely that some of the questions you have are pretty common.
Here are a few of the most common questions senior living experts are commonly asked, along with the answers we’re happy to share.
1. What Do We Do When We Run Out of Money?
Finances are a big concern for any family considering assisted living for their loved one. While some families may have funds set aside for elder care, others may be worried about what they will do when the money runs out. Healthcare expenses and senior living costs can be unpredictable. You don’t know how long you will be paying or how costs may increase as healthcare needs grow.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources at your disposal if funds begin to run out. Advisors at the senior living community you select can help you choose the finance option that makes the most sense for your family. From the onset of your journey through assisted living, you have access to expert assistance in the form of advisors. They can help you with everything from applications for long-term care insurance to finding elder care attorneys or financial planners to help you manage your funds.
Once you choose a senior living community, your loved one may want to avoid another move. The transition can be hard for seniors, so instead of packing up their belongings, advisors at your community can help you look into alternative options. This could mean downsizing your loved one to a smaller apartment with a lower payment, or if they’re comfortable sharing an apartment, that could be a possible next step, too.
Also, you may want to consider a nursing home for your loved one, as these are generally covered by Medicare. For example, if you’re a resident of an assisted living community like Wesley Village and you determine the need for financial assistance in the future, our staff members can help you get on the waitlist for the Bishop Wicke skilled nursing community. If that’s not an option, our experts will help you navigate the hospital and rehab world, so you can make educated decisions based on the financial and medical needs of your loved one.
2. Will My Parent Meet People Here?
A major benefit senior living communities have over in-home care is the socialization opportunities for senior residents. Physical immobility or no longer being able to drive often prevent seniors who live at home alone from having active and fulfilling social lives. Senior living communities, in contrast, have dozens of activities each month that seniors can participate in, allowing them to connect with other residents and build relationships.
One way we encourage socialization for new residents is through our welcoming committees. Each new senior resident will be assigned other community residents to show them around. They will attend meals together, answer any questions that may come up, and provide tours of the community. Your loved one will feel comfortable and make friends in no time!
3. But, What if My Parent isn’t Social?
This is a common follow-up question to “Will my mother/father meet people?” Not every senior is ready to jump in and make new friends, and that is perfectly fine. Leaving their home and moving to senior living may be one of the biggest transitions your loved one will have made in their entire lives. Every senior settles in at their own pace.
Whether your parent has never been particularly social or they’re a little intimidated by their new environment, there are community staff members who can encourage and facilitate socialization. For example, our activities director and our executive director work together to encourage residents to participate in activities. We have a full schedule from the beginning to the end of the day, making it possible for each resident to participate according to their comfort level.
These activities span a wide range of interests, too. This means there should be something of interest to everyone. Baking programs, gardening clubs, art projects, exercise classes, and even current events discussions are just some of the options for seniors. We work to identify the interests of each resident, and match those interests with specific activities.
4. What if My Loved One’s Care Needs Change?
Seniors’ needs can change at any moment, and an assisted living community that’s right for them today may not be right tomorrow. A sudden illness or change in health could mean it’s time to transition to a more comprehensive care environment, like a rehab community or nursing home. Conveniently, some assisted living communities are associated with nursing homes, making the transition much easier. Seniors just move to the building next door, or even to a different wing of their current community.
Memory care is another option for your loved one’s future care. If your parent struggles with memory disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they can transition to memory care communities designed for their specific needs. These communities offer greater levels of monitoring for residents and have security measures in place to deter wandering. For seniors who are facing the challenge of memory loss, these are safe, comfortable environments for them to spend this season of their lives.
Advisors at senior living communities are actively involved in your loved one’s care journey, and they can work with your family and medical teams to find the perfect care options. When it comes time for hospice or palliative care, they can help you navigate that emotional processes, as well. You can also work with private caregivers to meet your parent’s specific needs, even if they live in an assisted living community.
When it comes to transitioning your parent to senior living, your family is not alone. You have a wealth of resources in your community partners. They are available to answer any questions and they share the goal of ensuring your loved one lives a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Learn more about finding the right senior living community for your loved one. Download this guide with all the questions you should ask on a community tour.
Want to experience the benefits of living in an assisted living community yourself? Get your free guide on touring senior living communities now.
About Elizabeth Bemis
In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.