How do we find the right place when mom needs more care?
This question is so important that a three-part answer is necessary.
In my last column, Part 1, “Why is the move needed and is your loved one agreeable to relocating?” was addressed.
Part 2, “How to find the right community for your loved one,” is the focus of this column.
All care situations are different, so be prepared to research and visit several communities that might best meet the needs of your loved one. Ask as many people as you can for truthful reviews, but the best recommendations will come from actual residents and families, so casually ask these folks how they like their community, whenever possible.
When you tour a facility, you will see many impressive amenities, such a weight room, bistro, library, computer room and beautiful decor, but dear readers, you must be very observant of other considerations along the way.
Does the facility present a comfortable and friendly environment? Do the residents appear to be well cared for? Does it look and smell well cleaned and well maintained? How does the staff interact with the residents and each other?
Ask for a monthly menu and arrange to have a meal in the dining room. While eating, determine if the food is tasty and well prepared, if there is a pleasant social atmosphere and especially, if the dining staff is kind and helpful.
Request a monthly activities calendar and ask to observe an activity that you feel your loved one might enjoy. Inquire if there is a safe place for memory care and skilled nursing residents to go outside to get some fresh air.
Check to see if residents are taken on restaurant trips and other outings and if the facility’s services include transportation to doctor appointments. Ascertain the role of the nurses and technicians and if a doctor is available for check-ups and acute care. Upon leaving, immediately record your findings for accurate comparisons.
Finally, review contracts with wisdom and understanding. Be certain exactly what care is included in total costs and what insurances are taken before you sign on the dotted line.
Just like mama’s home cooking, you will never find a place that will care for your loved one as well as you can, but rest assured your time and effort is well spent searching for the next best thing.
In my next column, Part 3 will provide tips for downsizing, a successful moving day and next steps.
Visit www.moment-making.com to learn more about caregiving and to submit your questions, challenges and successes. Karen Cochran Beaulieu, a resident of Sumter County, is the author of the book, “Moments that Matter, a roadmap for caregivers and their loved ones with memory loss.”