Home care is a wonderful option for many older adults, but it’s not for everyone. For seniors who want to explore moving to a senior living community, there are some key considerations to keep in mind.
When is it time?
Dina Hobson, owner of Senior Choices, offers some guidance on determining when the time is right to begin thinking about senior living options. Two of the top red flags are if a senior’s care needs are not being fully met, or if the senior is feeling isolated.
- The need for care: Watch for signs such as memory decline, missed medications, lack of attention to personal hygiene, or bruises or other injuries that could indicate the senior has had a fall.
- The need for socialization: The pandemic brought to the spotlight the health dangers of senior isolation. If Mom has always been vibrant and active but now has limited (or no) opportunities to socialize, a senior living community may be ideal.
If there’s any change in a senior’s condition or the beginning of health decline is noticed, the sooner you begin investigating options, the better. Allow yourself plenty of time for facility visits and to weigh the pros and cons of different care solutions. Waiting until the last minute throws everyone into panic mode, which is never the time to make such a life-altering decision.
What’s different now about senior living communities?
One of the top complaints about senior living communities has been the rigidity of schedules. Breakfast was always served at 8:00, lunch at noon, dinner at 5:00. If you missed one of those timeframes, you missed a meal. Now, many communities are adapting to more resident-focused policies, including all-day dining and more menu choices, such as lighter fare and vegetarian options.
Activities are also shifting from the standard bingo to include lectures, sculpting classes, technology, and more opportunities for life-enrichment.
What criteria should be considered when evaluating communities?
Start with finances. You don’t want to overextend yourself. Determine how much you can spend to ensure the senior will be happy without running out of funds. Lifestyle is also important. Is the senior active, social, and gregarious, or more quiet and subdued? And of course, you want to confirm that the level of care offered aligns with the senior’s care needs.
There’s a tendency for family members to think about what they would want, instead of the preferences of the senior who will actually be living there. Rather than envisioning yourself in a community you’re visiting, focus on the senior’s point of view, wishes, and lifestyle.
Asking these questions during senior living community visits can help you narrow down your selection:
- What type of training and certification do your staff have?
- Are living units furnished, or can residents bring their own furniture and decorations?
- Is someone available 24/7 to help seniors with bathing, getting dressed, or any other needs?
- How are meals provided? Are special dietary needs addressed?
- Are pets welcomed? Are pet care services available?
- What types of activities are offered?
- Do residents each have a written plan of care? How often are care plans reviewed and updated?
- Are there additional fees for any services or amenities?
A professional in-home caregiver can provide services wherever a senior calls home, including senior living communities. This ensures that all care needs will be met according to a senior's requested schedule and routine, while providing opportunities for socialization, fun outings, and life-enrichment activities.
To arrange for in-home care services or to schedule a FREE care assessment, contact us at (941) 929-1966. With nearly two decades of service to hundreds of clients, Right at Home is the leading provider of private duty at-home care in Sarasota and surrounding areas.