How to Help a Senior Transition into Assisted Living with Less Stress
By Rhonda Underhill
Is it time for a senior loved one to move to assisted living? Making this decision is never easy, for seniors or family members, but it doesn’t have to cause too much stress or anxiety. If you want to ease your elderly relative’s transition, you can take these steps:
Research and Compare Assisted Living Options
If your loved one is apprehensive about moving into assisted living, researching local facilities and communities may help to ease those tensions. While all assisted living facilities provide help with activities of daily life, some may offer different perks and features than others. Helping your loved one feel comfortable in his/her potential new home can be made easier by using online assisted living tools to compare local choices and to get additional information about this process.
These tools can even provide you with a better idea of the average costs of assisted living in your area, which can be helpful for planning but shouldn’t be the only factor in deciding which assisted living community is the best for your aging loved one’s golden years. Location should be a top consideration, since being closer to your senior relative can make settling into assisted living a little less lonely. BeginCare.com allows you to search by location, distance, type of provider, or name.
It’s important to do your research before making a decision. Services and amenities available at the facility are very important, but so are services available in the local community. Access to doctors and emergency services should be considered when making your decision. If you want to avoid another move in the future, consider looking for a community that offers varying levels of long-term care. As residents’ needs tend to increase over time, choosing a facility that is able to offer services to match your loved one’s needs is critical.
Plan Out Options for Paying for Assisted Living
You may be able to find average assisted living costs by using the online tools mentioned above, but you will want to get exact numbers before you start helping your senior parent or relative come up with a financial plan for covering assisted living expenses. This information will be available from the Admissions Department and will vary based on the needs of the resident. It’s important to understand what is included in the base fees as well as which services will incur additional costs when determining your budget.
Many seniors end up paying out of their own pockets or savings, especially since Medicare offers little help with these sort of long-term care costs, but you may be able to help your aging loved one tap into benefits from Medicaid, the VA, or even nonprofits.
If the senior owns a home, that asset can also be used to fund assisted living costs by taking out a home equity loan, reverse mortgage, or even renting the home out. Selling the home is another way to cover care costs, but you won’t want the listing sitting on the market for too long. So make sure you understand the home-selling process from start to finish before you offer to help with this crucial process.
Offer Help with Downsizing and Moving Projects
Choosing the right assisted living home and finding optimal finance options can relieve a lot of pressure for your elderly family member. For many seniors, however, dealing with personal belongings can be the most stressful part of planning a move into assisted living. So if your loved one has a lot of stuff to sort through and get rid of, you may need some tips and strategies to help them cope.
Since your loved one will likely be moving to a much smaller home, eliminating excess should be the ultimate goal during this process. But you can still help your loved one come up with storage solutions and organizational hacks to keep the new home from becoming too cluttered. If this all seems overwhelming, you could also think about finding a senior move manager.
Senior move managers are trained professionals who have the expertise, experience, and compassion to assist seniors with every detail of this sort of major move. While hiring a move manager may come with added expense, having that extra help can make this transition less stressful and less time-consuming for family members and seniors.
Moving into assisted living can bring on a lot of stress, anxiety, and other emotions for both seniors and their family members. So help ease that emotional toll by using the steps above to guide your loved one’s transition into assisted living. Doing so can be such a meaningful act of compassion and can provide some needed comfort during this major life change.
Rhonda Underhill publishes http://www.getwellderly.com/ Getwellderly.com is a research-based site designed to educate seniors and the people who love them about health and wellness as you age and to provide the resources you need to be well.