There are a number of reasons to decide it is time to look for a senior care facility. Many times a crisis, such as a fall resulting in injury or an illness, makes you realize Mom or Dad needs help; or perhaps you have taken them or an older relative into your home and the arrangement is less than ideal; or the arrangement may be OK, but you can no longer care for them yourself. You may visit them at home and notice one or more indications they are having trouble taking care of themselves:
- Their home is no longer clean or well-maintained;
- Their personal hygiene is not up to former standards;
- They have lost significant weight, the refrigerator is empty, or it contains spoiled food;
- Pets or plants are not well cared for;
- They seem to have no friends or activities they enjoy doing;
- Their finances are no longer in order, such as cutting back on expenses, bills not being paid, letters from creditors, being preyed on by scammers.
Finding the right place takes a lot of research and consideration. Many people find that the places they like are too expensive and they don’t like some of the ones they can afford. While you can’t remove your own emotional response to the situation, a practical, logical approach can make it feel less overwhelming.
We suggest the following steps:
- Discuss and write down the considerations – geographical area, level of care, lifestyle, reputation, etc. – that are most important to your loved one and other family members who are involved in the decision process.
- Start your research on the Internet and narrow your choices down. Keep in mind that every facility will make itself look wonderful on its own website. There are a number of sites that review facilities you might want to check out, as well.
- Call your top choices and make appointments for tours of the facilities. Visiting will narrow the field considerably, as you observe actual living conditions and learn about pricing options and additional fees that may not be mentioned on the website.
- Download our Facility Comparison Checklist and take it with you when you visit each place, so that you can compare features and pricing when you’re ready to make a decision.
Finding a new home for a loved one who can no longer care for themselves in their own home is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be a heartbreaking one. While it is emotionally difficult to accept a loved one’s declining abilities – whether physical or mental – an honest assessment of the kind of help they need is the best way to make sure they are safe as well as happy as they age. Knowing they are safe and well cared for goes a long way towards giving you peace of mind.