Do you think it might be time for your parents to move to assisted living? The decision and process can be quite daunting. Whatever stage you are at in the process, a consultation with a care manager can be invaluable in getting some personal guidance and organizing your approach. We have a lot of resources to get you started on understanding when it’s time for assisted living (or other care options) and selecting the right assisted living or senior care community.
The moving process itself is often overlooked and this can be vital to helping your loved one make a good transition. This is one reason we recommend families not wait until a crisis. In a crisis, you will be rushed and not have as many options. Additionally, your loved one may end up needing a higher level of care after an accident or illness which could have been prevented. This often results in a more difficult adjustment, as well as higher costs. If you are noticing concerns, it is time to address the situation and look at some options.
Another benefit to preparing ahead is that you can consider the best timing for the move. It is best to avoid times when you have big events going on or have difficulty getting away from work. Having sufficient time allows family members more time to visit facilities, spend time getting to know the staff, assist with the move, and sort through belongings in a less hurried manner. You may also want to avoid key dates such as the anniversary of a loved one’s death and birthdays. Look at your personal schedule and talk with family members about how best to coordinate the move.
There are also many services that can help with different practical aspects of the move, so you can focus on providing emotional support to your loved one. For example, we often help families with hiring estate sales/packing/moving services as well as coordinating details like address changes.
In addition to personal schedules, you should consider the holiday calendar. Avoid moving during major holidays. Moving is likely to be a stressful event for you and your loved one. The move to assisted living, while it will hopefully end up being a very positive decision, often feels like a major loss, especially for someone leaving a long-time home. The holidays can be stressful and filled with expectations. For those who have experienced loss, this can be an especially tough time of year. This is also the reason we advise that families don’t have the “big conversations” at holiday get-togethers (here’s what we recommend instead).
And, the reality is that the holidays are not the optimal time at an assisted living or nursing facility. Staffing levels tend to be lower as people take time off. Though facilities try to plan around this, we can tell you firsthand that no shows and “calling out” are common challenges in healthcare and senior care (I once spent Thanksgiving driving all around Atlanta to pick up staff who said were willing to come in but didn’t have transportation, when I worked in a nursing home.)
For similar reasons, moving on a Friday evening or weekend is not ideal. At an assisted living facility, the activity schedule will usually be light during the weekend and key staff will not be there to help. At nursing homes, activities such as physical and occupational therapy are often weekday-only (unfortunately, hospitals also wish to discharge patients before the weekend so it’s a common situation for rehabilitation patients to find themselves in).
We hope by sharing some of our “insider’s tips” we can help make the situation easier for you. We know you don’t always have complete control of timing, especially when the unexpected happens. If you’re feeling pressured to make a decision or unsure about options, give us a call anytime. No matter what the situation, we can offer suggestions that will improve the transition (read a client story about the difference this makes).
Contact us today to set up a consultation about assisted living and senior care options and help with coordinating a move. Now’s a great time to help your loved one make a transition before the holidays.