If your aging parent is no longer able to live alone, you might consider moving them to an assisted living community. But, where do you start? What questions should you ask? Gaining a better understanding about assisted living can help make the decision easier for you and your loved one. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about assisted living.
Q: Can you bring your own furniture?
A: Many assisted living communities will let you bring your own furniture so you’re able to make it feel like “home.” Some communities also offer storage space.
Q: Are residents able to drive?
A: Transportation for programs is available for residents to use in many communities. But, almost all communities offer residents parking spaces or shelters. Residents may drive whenever they wish, if they’re still able to.
Q: Is smoking or drinking allowed?
A: Depending on the assisted living community, residents can smoke in designated public places. Residents can drink in their residence. Alcoholic beverages may also be available for sale in communities that have bars.
Q: Will family and friends be able to visit?
A: Visitors are welcome at any time. There are a variety of programs, meals and activities where visitors are encouraged to participate with their loved one!
Q: What if residents want to sleep in or change their morning schedule?
A: Each resident has a personal care plan that details a certain time to help them get dressed or take medication. Usually their awakened by the doorbell or a knock, unless they let staff know beforehand they want to sleep in.
Q: How do you know much care is needed?
A: Upon move-in, nurses will assess your loved one’s personal care and service needs, obtain an updated medical evaluation form from their doctor and review medical history to see how to best tailor services to fit their needs. A nurse will also discuss with them their preferences, such as specific foods they dislike or may be allergic to, as well as any normal routines, such as the time they start their day. This will help to develop a personal care plan.
Q: How does the dining program work?
A: In most assisted living communities, they serve three meals a day with multiple options at each meal. Restaurant-style food is served, so residents don’t have to get up and down to get their food. Visiting guests are welcome to order meals as well to dine with residents. They may also have the option to cook in their own residence, and have one or two meals a day with the dinning program.
Q: Does everyone feel welcome? How do they make friends?
A: Staff members receive training in how to make residents feel at home. They introduce residents to each other and suggest programs that may be of interest them. There is an activity calendar each month with a variety of activities that residents can choose from.
Q: Are residents allowed to be alone?
A: Residents don’t have to be around other people if they don’t want to. They’re able to cook and eat in their apartment, so you they don’t have to go to the dining room. Also, they can participate in their regular hobbies, such a sewing, reading or crossword puzzles at home.
Q: What happens when someone gets sick?
A: There are alert signals in each apartment. Each individual care plans includes a provision where staff will check on residents if they don’t hear or see them within a certain period. Residents are also able to see their regular doctor; however, there is always a nurse on call who can help.
Q: What services are included in the monthly rate?
A: Most communities include the following:
- Three healthy, delicious meals in the dining room every day
- Regular wellness, social and spiritual events and programs
- Housekeeping and personal laundry services
- Coordinating with the resident’s personal physician
- Medication management
- 24-hour security.
Q: Is there an option for a trial period?
A: Several assisted living communities offer respite stays, which are short-term stays to sample the lifestyle on an assisted living community before you decide. They’ll receive the same type of services they would receive as if they were a resident.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Many states offer Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income to help with costs. Long-term care insurance is also available. For most people who own or have some equity in their home, the cost is easily affordable. There are a variety of resources available to help with assisted living costs.