Choosing a new place for a loved one to call home is not for the faint of heart.
Often, friends and family are thrust into looking at senior housing during an emergency or a health crisis. Emotions are high, fear is rampant, and questions are endless. So, where do you begin?
My advice is to be wise and avoid emotionally driven decisions. In fact, the Lord calls us to seek Him in all we do, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” ~ James 1:5
Unfortunately, I have watched countless families choose communities based on looks alone, only to regret it a year later when the community no longer fits their budget or health needs.
My recommendation is to take the time to make wise decisions upfront, and to do that, I’ve put together a list of two primary and two secondary factors I believe are essential when looking for a new place to call home.
The two primary factors: Health Care and Finances
- Health Care Needs – It’s imperative to completely understand your loved ones health care needs. Don’t be afraid to join them at their next doctor’s appointment and ask the doctor which level of care is appropriate. Is it independent, assisted, or skilled? Getting the doctor’s perspective helps navigate the wide range of senior living options. Often primary caregivers will give recommendations on their preferred senior living community.
- Finances – Outside of health care, understanding finances helps determine affordability. Don’t forget secondary funding such as long-term care insurance, military funding or Medicaid funding. These are important viable funding options. Pro tip: Always ask, does the community guarantee their apartment when secondary funding options kick in, especially Medicaid? Why? Many communities will state they will accept Medicaid but that is only true so long as there is not a privately paying resident wanting the room. Which could mean that once the money runs out, you will lose their apartment.
The two secondary factors:
- Aesthetics & Activities- these two go hand in hand. It’s important to live in a well-kept, clean community where the residents are happy, and staff are fully invested in the well-being of their residents. How will you know? Here’s my recommendation: During your tour, invite yourself to lunch and/or to join in an activity. This gives you the opportunity to visit those who live and work at the community while gaining an inside perspective. What’s great about this opportunity is that when you sit at lunch and visit with the residents and chat with waitstaff you’re able to gain a deeper understanding of what residents really like/dislike about their community while watching staff interaction.
Locating new housing need not be overwhelming. Take your time. Define your factors. Then, enjoy visiting the vast array of senior housing, knowing in advance that you will find a community to fit your loved ones needs.
Amy Loos began her career in senior health care at the early age of 13 when she began volunteering as a Candy Striper at the local hospital. A love for working with seniors directed her career into pre-med and eventually into senior health care where she currently channels her fondness of numbers and serving the senior populace as a Business Director for one of the nation’s top senior living companies in the nation.
While having a heart to serve others is a top priority, Amy also makes time to share her love of Christ through writing. These two worlds collided 8 years ago when she was asked to develop and lead bible studies for the residents at the previous assisted living community she worked for. Writing women’s bible studies led her to write and co-lead Join Us At The Table, a monthly women’s bible study shared over a home cooked meal. Currently, she is working on a bible study for women wanting to impact their work environment through the love of Jesus called “Help Me Jesus, I Don’t Fit In!” set to be published January 2024.
As an outdoor enthusiast Amy can be found hiking, snowshoeing, and kayaking the mountains and lakes around Bellingham, WA with her husband, two sons and 3 well loved and somewhat spoiled dogs.
Visit her for more at www.windowoffaith.com
I hope you’re enjoying this Caregiving Straight Talk series. So many of these articles are relatable. Amy’s article on Senior Housing is spot-on! Searching for a place for my mom was tremendously stressful. It’s important to plan ahead, search out the costs, the location, the reputation of a place.
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Caregiver’s Corner shares short stories of joys and heartaches along with tips now and then to help you survive this season and even make sweet memories. Together, we’ll cheer and encourage each other through the caregiving journey.
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Tracy Crump knows from experience the burdens caregivers shoulder after caring for both her parents and her 100-year-old mother-in-law. A former ICU nurse, Tracy dispenses hope in her award-winning book, Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness Twenty-two of her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and she has published hundreds of devotions, articles, and short stories in diverse publications such as Guideposts books, Focus on the Family, Woman’s World, and Ideals.