New LifeStyles - Fort Worth

Winter/Spring 2014

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Page 57 of 165

Getting Loved Ones to By Jacqueline Marcell, Author, Elder Rage Convincing elderly loved ones to move from the comfort of the home they've known for many years into an assisted living situation can be one of the toughest hurdles for families to accomplish. The best way is to start the conversation earlier than later, while your loved ones are still in good health. Getting them used to the idea beforehand will make it easier when the time comes. But what if you haven't already made plans for the transition? If it is time for your loved ones to alter their living situation–here are some things you should do. Think Safety First Keep in mind that your loved ones' safety is the most important thing. If you know that they cannot remain in their own home safely, don't let your emotions override what you know needs to be done. Don't wait for a broken hip, a car accident or the crisis call before you step in. Recognize that when you were a child, your parents would have done everything possible to keep you safe. Now, as hard as it is, you have to be the "parent," and you have to make the best decisions for their safety. Consider a Multi-Level Facility Be sure to consider the benefits of a multi-level facility, which allows for additional services as your loved ones' health declines. This prevents the turmoil of having to move them to a new location as more services are needed. Many seniors start out with their own private apartment and then progress through assisted living and eventually to skilled nursing and dementia care, all within the same facility. They may be able to bathe and take their own medications now, but as they need help, it is a blessing to know that services can be added. Many times the friends they have made along the way progress along with them, which provides the comfort of familiar faces. Get References The best way to check out a facility is to talk to numerous families who already have a loved one living there. Drop in on the weekend when families are visiting and ask if they are happy with the accommodations, food, service, activities, cleanliness, reliability, personnel, etc. If they had it to do again, would they move their loved one there? What have they learned from the experience? What do they wish they had known when they were beginning the process? Also, ask the administrators if there are any liens or lawsuits filed against the facility. If they will not put in writing that there are no legal problems–keep looking! Ask About Activities Adult children are often filled with guilt for moving their parents from their own home, that is, until they see them flourishing in a new environment and participating in activities that they haven't enjoyed for years. Speak with the activity director to make sure that there are numerous activity options. Does the facility offer field trips, games, crafts, singing, dancing, gardening, cooking, Bingo, exercising, movies, etc.? Be sure to monitor the director to make sure that the activities are happening. 58

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