You walk into the lobby and take a deep breath. How did you get here? Why is this necessary? How did my very competent “elders” all of a sudden need assistance living?
Other questions pop into your head. Will they be happy here? Will they be fed well? Will they like the people here?
Whether you are 40 years old or 80 years old — these are real moments. Change is coming and it seems to be screaming down the train track right at you. Do you jump or simply lie down? Before you decide ask:
First: Do the elders want to live near family or friends? If both are in the same location, the question is moot. Otherwise, this question comes first. It is not about you as the child; it is about your parent’s quality of life. We all think Mom and Dad should be close to us, family, but that’s not necessarily what they want. If they have a life in a separate location and want to stay, keep them there. Today, with Uber and Lyft the ability to drive is not a necessity.
Second: What is your budget for a senior care center? Certainly this makes a small difference in the food or housing (food and maintenance are fairly comparable) but the big difference is location. You ask yourself: How long will it take to get them to their synagogue or church? How far is it to their favorite restaurant? What other bills will need to be paid?
Third: How much money is there? Can Mom and Dad afford this on their own or will the kids have to assist financially? What other sources of moneys can be tapped? Are there VA benefits, widow/widower benefits? Can Social Security disability come into play?
Last: Can this facility be trusted? We all have heard those horror stories of badly treated seniors and none of us want that happening to our parents. There are many resources and most of them are online. You can look up assisted living centers and many will pop up — most with ratings right next to the name. There is also AARP ratings, YELP ratings and Facebook.
Bottom line: You will have to do some searching — online and in person. Peace of mind is what you want in any location. As children, you want your parents well treated — as the residents you, too, want options in food, activities and people. The most important aspect of this is that you and your parents feel comfortable and secure.
Our company, Parenting Your Parents (parentingyourparents.guru) takes no fees from assisted living centers. Our concern is you and we want the option of defending you against them — which can sometimes happen.
Frances Reaves, Esq., a graduate of the University of Miami Law School, spent 10 years as a litigator/lobbyist. Today, she Is an accomplished business woman who, when her parents could no longer take care of themselves, learned the ins and outs of senior care (or the lack thereof). She founded Parent Your Parents to assist seniors and their children through the myriad pitfalls and options of “senior care” in the 21st Century. If you have any questions or comments contact Frances at firstname.lastname@example.org.