Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Choose an Assisted Living Center

When you are confronted with the question of senior care for your loved one, the many options available can be downright daunting.  Choosing an assisted living center or a nursing home is not a decision to be taken lightly. Here are a few practical tips to help make the decision--and the transition--easier for everyone involved.
  • Begin Slow. Start with hiring help for basic chores, such as mowing the lawn or running errands. As the need for caregiving increases, if possible, add more in-home care.
  • Open the Conversation. Talk to your aging parents about what the future might hold. Discuss their medical issues and what their options are for long-term care. Making a decision may not happen overnight, so be patient with them as they sort through their emotions.
  • Offer Choices. When staying at home is no longer realistic for your elderly parents, sit down to talk about assisted living centers or nursing homes. Allow them to make many of the decisions on their own, within reason. Bring their doctor into the discussion as ask for their opinion as well.
  • Make Legal Preparations. Long before a long-term care decision must be made, consider the legal roadblocks that might hinder any eldercare choices. Talk to your loved one about finances, durable power of attorney, and other legal factors.
  • Show Them You Care. When you do place your aging parent in an assisted living center or nursing home, visit them often and talk with them daily if at all possible. Pay attention to their care, follow up on any complaints, and become an advocate for them. Most of all, remind them how much you care about them, and show them that their comfort and health is your utmost concern.
Choosing to have your elderly parent placed in an assisted living center or a nursing home is a difficult decision; but with open lines of communication between you and your loved ones, that rocky road can be made much smoother.

Barbara McVicker
Barbara McVicker is one of the nation’s leading eldercare experts and national speakers for some of the largest companies, organizations, and healthcare institutions. Barbara is based in Columbus, OH. With additional offices in Roanoke, VA, Madison, WI and Los Angeles, CA, Barbara travels frequently and is available for taped or live appearance or phone interview upon request.

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