Top Tips On Transitioning Into Assisted Living
Transitioning into Assisted Living can not only be emotionally draining, but it can be quite difficult if you don’t have the proper guidance. There are so many options out there these days, that it is really important to filter out the majority of the homes and communities out there, and find the right fit for you.
Here are the top tips on transitioning into assisted living:
1. Start your search
The best way to start the process is with a simple search, to find the best assisted living community for your loved one. You can find these by doing some research on the web, talking to a friend or loved one on some recommendations that they may have, or reach out to a Placement Agent in your town, and ask them to guide you.
We recommend that you narrow your search down to about 3 to 5 communities in the area that you are interested in.
2. Utilize Placement Agents! (They’re free)
Placement agents are like Realtors, but for older adults. They place older adults into assisted living and Memory Care communities everyday. And the best part? They are free! They are paid by the community once your loved one moves into the home or community.
The home or community is happy to pay the placement agents their fee, because typically, the fee is based on one month rent. It’s a cost well worth paying for.
Placement agents also have a ton of knowledge and inside information on the assisted living homes in your town. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
You will save yourself a lot of time and headache by partnering with a trusted placement agent. These folks have real life experience by placing their past clients into homes; so they will be able to share valuable information on the best communities to consider and also the ones you want to avoid.
We recommend doing a search on the web for “placement agents in [your city]” or going to www.yelp.com and searching for assisted living homes in your city. Here you will be able to find some placement agents in your town, along with some reviews of them.
3. Drop into the communities, unannounced
This may seem a bit odd, but it is very common for there to be constant traffic and visitors in assisted living homes and communities, and this is something that no one is talking about; show up unannounced to the communities that you are interested in.
Once you have narrowed your search down to about 3-5 homes that you are interested in, drop in unannounced. They will actually be happy to see you.
By doing this, there is no time for the home to prepare and make everything perfect for your arrival. You get a real and raw view of their everyday operations, the communication, and the way the Caregivers operate and work together with the residents. By doing this you get a real sense for the home.
When you arrive to the home/community you should feel “warmth”. Go with your gut!
4. Go back for a meal
Once you have narrowed the search down even further to about 1 or 2 homes/communities, return for a meal. This allows you to interact with the staff and the residents at a deeper level.
Don’t you want to know who your loved one will be talking to and interacting with everyday?
The owner or house manager are typically going to be your first line of communication. So interacting with them over meal allows you to determine if these are folks that you want to be communicating with on a constant basis.
5. Work extremely close with the Manager
Once you have your community or home chosen and you are moving your loved one in, please work extremely close with the house manager to ensure a smooth move-in process.
The house manager should be your advocate and fiduciary throughout this process. They have done this many times before. Allow them to guide you. Communication is key.
There is a ton of paperwork that needs to be signed over by the Physician(s). So making sure all of the orders and medications are correct and listed are very important.
Communicate with the house Manager what items they will need from the Physician(s) before you go to the Doctors office, so that you don’t have to go back for items that the assisted living home may need to intake your loved one.
6. Communicate to the staff about your loved one
Once your loved one has moved in, make sure to communicate to the staff about your loved one, their preferences, how they like to live day to day, and just an overview of who they are.
Providing as much information about your loved to the staff is key in helping the staff to connect with your loved one and helping them with a smooth transition.
The staff should have a genuine interest in getting to know your loved one.
7. Frequent visits
For some folks, frequent visits from family members can be the factor that helps them easing their way into the community. Do not allow communities to tell you that they need a “2 week grace period” of not visiting so that your loved one can get adjusted.
Everyone is different, and while this approach may be great for some, that does not mean it’s great for all.
Determine if your loved one would appreciate frequent visits at the time of move-in, or if they would like to acclimate to the community for a week or two, before you start visiting.
Moving into an assisted living community is often times seen as the “beginning of the end” for many. This is usually not the case. Many residents thrive once they are in a great community. They make friends with others, participate in stimulating and engaging daily activities, and have a team to care and love for them 24/7.
If you would like to speak to us about more tips on a smooth transition, please feel free to contact us at 520-600-4408.
Please tell us in the comments section below; what’s important to you in an assisted living community?