A staggering 87 percent of adults over the age of 65 say they want to remain in their current homes and communities as they age, according to research from AARP. Unfortunately, wants don’t always match needs -- especially in the case of seniors for whom living alone may no longer be a safe or realistic option. Many caregivers share a common dilemma when it comes to helping aging loved ones accept a move from a cherished home into senior living. Read on for three tips aimed at fostering a positive transition and best outcomes for all.
If your aging loved one is still fairly independent with minimal care needs, an independent living community may be a good compromise. Likewise, assisted living may be a great fit for seniors who are no longer able to live on their own but may not require constant care. Other types of care available for older adults can range from in-home medical and non-medical care, memory care assistance and skilled nursing care, as well as short-term care for rehabilitation and therapy.
Each senior living option has its own pros and cons. Conducting due diligence and sharing your findings will not only ensure that all involved parties are on the same page, but can also help your aging loved one maintain a sense of control during this time of change.
2. Assess Prospective Communities
Once you have settled on the right senior living option, it’s time to look more closely at the communities themselves. A quick internet search will yield plenty of information about relevant factors, such as proximity to loved ones, safety, and care offerings. Just keep in mind that websites are marketing materials. Looking for information from other family members or caregivers about their experience with a particular agency, organization, or community? Try checking out a few online reviews. Tracking them down is easier than ever thanks to review sites like SeniorAdvisor.com, Caring.com, GoldenReviews.com, OurParents.com, and SeniorHomes.com. Also check out Facebook, Google+, and Yelp. In addition to looking for glowing positive reviews, be sure to see what kind of concerns have been shared and whether a response was posted. (Keep in mind that some review sites don't allow a community/agency to respond to reviews.)
3. Go For A Visit
One of the best ways to get an unbiased sense of what life is like in a particular community? Go for a visit. Reading through web pages and brochures is no substitute for experiencing a senior living community for yourself. After assembling a shortlist of possible places, schedule tours for you, your aging loved one, and other members of the caregiving team. Many communities will invite you to have lunch and socialize with residents or even arrange for a trial stay. Also, be sure to encourage your aging loved one to check out the community’s calendar of events while you are there. The more you involve your aging loved one in the early stages, the more you empower him/her to feel like part of the decision-making process.
One last thing to keep in mind? While dealing with an aging loved one's resistance to senior living can be frustrating for caregivers, gentle encouragement, understanding and empathy are an invaluable part of supporting your aging loved one during a challenging time. For more on this and other senior living subjects, download our comprehensive resource, 10 Things Family Members Really Want to Know About Assisted Living, today.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Connect with Marissa Salvesen
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.