When you have a close relative or friend who might benefit from moving into a development for aging adults, you might not know how to go about getting from where he is now to settling him into the community of his dreams. Everyone’s situation is different, and you should do what is appropriate, but it can help to have a few pointers on how to start the process of moving into senior living.
Getting the Family Involved
You should not try to handle everything on your own, if there are other family members who can shoulder some of the responsibility. Taking on the project of getting your aging relative moved into assisted living can be exhausting. Doing all this by yourself can also create resentment and suspicion among your siblings and other close relatives. Your family members should all have input into the many decisions this move can generate. It is easier on everyone, if the family can work together amicably.
At the family meeting, you and your family need to agree on who will be the point of contact for the senior living center. Your family might need to designate one person to be the decision-maker, particularly if your aging relative has cognitive decline or a condition like Alzheimer’s disease.
Some families split up the duties, with one person handling medical decisions, another person taking care of insurance issues and another managing the loved one’s finances. Whenever possible, you should have at least two people looking over the bank statements, investments, payment of bills and other financial matters.
Doing Your Homework
Your older loved one will likely have many questions about senior living centers. You should educate yourself on the details of several facilities, so you can answer her questions. After you find at least three developments, pore through their websites and then take a tour of each center.
Having the Conversation
Some people start with this step, but you really should have a grasp of the options available for your loved one before sitting down to talk. You need to collect the information to answer her questions.
Jot down some questions you anticipate your loved one will ask – an informal FAQs list. Ask the questions when you tour each senior development. When you feel you have enough information to respond to the questions you anticipate, then sit down with your aging loved one and “have the talk.”
Develop a Plan
The conversation does not have to end with your loved one going into assisted living immediately. If he is angry or upset about moving into a senior community, give him a little time, as long as he is not in danger while continuing to live in his own home.
You should have a plan, but that plan could be that you will tour three facilities and then sit down and talk again in six months. If things change in the meantime, you could revisit the topic before the six months are over.
If your aging relative wants to go forward, you could set up a plan that covers these topics:
- Touring at least three developments initially.
- Talking about what your loved one liked and did not like about each location.
- Finding several more facilities to tour, tailored to your relative’s preferences.
- Asking the centers you visit for a list or brochure about the steps a senior needs to complete, like selling the house, packing, and moving, to make the transition from the family home to a senior development center.
- Go over the list with your loved one and family members to distribute the work equitably among everyone.
Talk with an elder law attorney in your area about any insights or experiences he or she may offer. Before signing a contract with a facility, have the attorney review it for your loved one.
A Place for Mom. “Having the Conversation” (accessed April 14, 2019) https://www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/having-the-conversation