So you and your family have made that difficult decision to move mom or dad out of their home into an assisted living facility, so your job is done? Nope. Assisted Living Facilities ( ALF) have become the answer for many adult children looking to provide a safer version of home for their aging parents. Many families are finding out these facilities, no matter how high the cost, are not equipped to handle all the needs of their loved ones. Families are often still spending considerable time and resources coordinating medical care, arranging appointments, fretting about medications and driving to doctor visits. Really, assisting the assisting living facility? The traditional model of Assisted Living Facilities is not meeting the needs of our parents’ generation who are living longer, with more complicated medical needs, but still yearn and are equipped for maintaining some of their independence.
Thankfully, there is some good news to report. A few innovative providers are beginning to incorporate the traditional assisted living model with medical management. For example, at a senior living organization in Minnesota, residents can get primary care from on-site nursing care practitioners who conduct ‘house calls’ to residents’ apartments. During off-hours, assisted living staff have access to consultation with the medical team, lessening the number of visits to the emergency room by residents.
As we continue to look for the best possible living situations for our aging loved ones, we need to start asking the right questions. In kind, hopefully, more facilities will start responding.
Here are four questions to keep in mind:
1. Under what circumstances will I need to hire help in addition to what’s included in your fee?
2. How do you prevent unnecessary hospital visits?
3. If my parent needs to be admitted into a hospital, how do you ease the reentry to the facility?
4. How will you spot my parent’s health problems early and communicate concerns with me?
So families must continue to be involved with their family members health and medical care needs even in an ALF . Managing your expectation is important and good and consistent communication with the staff will go a long way to keeping your family members healthy. The types of elder abuse I see in my office often have to do with ALF not transferring residents sooner once medical problems arise or get serious. So be aware that if your loved ones health begins or continues to decline , their needs may require more that the ALF can manage and skilled care in a traditional long term care facility maybe the best