My parents tried to get ahead of having one of us choose a community to help with their care. The bought into a Life Care Community in 1998. However, they never really wanted to live there.
It got comical when they told us they didn’t want to really move in yet because that is where all the “old people” lived. My parents were in the mid-70s and treated the community as a vacation home and went on weekends.
I recently heard a statistic that the average age of those that move into retirement communities are now in their 80s. Most people want to stay in their homes as long as they can. However, I also see the isolation of those who lose a spouse or just withdraw from their network of friends. For those that give up the car keys, it gets harder to stay connected. Those are most of the clients I work with and I understand the tension between aging-in-place and moving to a community. The answer is different for everyone.
As Dr. Gawande simply states in the best-seller “Being Mortal” — many of us want safety for loved ones while those we are helping, want purpose and meaning. However, it’s hard to know if the community you are looking at is right for your loved ones.
A recent news story in our local paper shared that dozens of nursing homes in Virginia were fined for violations. It’s heartbreaking to know that many individuals who are at their weakest are not getting the kind of care their need. Unfortunately, it is a reality of the industry and one that means that family and loved ones need to be vigilant and be the voice for those that can’t advocate for themselves.
When I needed to find a different community for my mom who was a very active woman with moderate dementia, I hired a local aging life care manager from Caring Considerations. They helped narrow down my choices and my siblings and I had the opportunity to tour and select the one we thought was best for mom.
The reason to hire someone to help with this are many. First, online community locators are compensated by the communities they send you for the leads they produce. I wanted an impartial expert to help me find the right place for mom.
I have also referred some families to the senior community advisor that serves my local community. They are compensated by some of the communities they refer to, so I suggest you a schedule a call to learn more about how they can help you and how they are compensated.
You want to know about how the residents and their families have found the community. Most aging life care managers and senior advisors have clients living in the communities and have an inside view.
The final reason is that you will want to know if there are violations. You can search for the ratings on Nursing homes on the Medicare site here. Unfortunately, this is only for the skilled nursing, so having someone who knows about an Assisted Living or Memory Care community can help offer some additional comfort to a difficult choice.
Even the top communities aren’t able to staff to meet all the needs of their residents. It’s a shame to know that we haven’t figured out how to compassionately meet the needs of our elders. Aging Ain’t for Sissies. Considered.