Making sure you choose the best nursing home or assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task. It is not as simple as choosing a restaurant…asking your friends for their recommendations or looking at reviews online won’t give you the full picture and often won’t result in any options to fit your needs. It is already a stressful time and the paperwork, terminology and process can make it more so. Here are the top five ways an Aging Life Care Manager can help you find the best nursing home or assisted living (and make the best transition):
1. An Aging Life Care Manager will help you determine WHAT it is you even need (also known as your “level of care“).
Does Mom need a retirement community (what does “independent living” really mean?), an assisted living (and what type/level) or a nursing facility? Does she need a special memory care unit or can a standard assisted living handle her needs as a person with Alzheimer’s? Many of her friends may have moved to XYZ place but what it they don’t offer the care Mom needs? What happens when she needs more help? One of the worst mistakes is moving somewhere that can’t really accommodate your needs and having to quickly make another move (and yes, it does happen, even though the facility may “evaluate” you for admission).
2. We know the “inside scoop” on facilities (and programs to help and more).
We do much more than just help people find nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Our expertise is care management and patient advocacy, so we are in and out of facilities all the time working with our clients and the staff. Also, because of our expertise we offer comprehensive advice. We can help you understand the costs and how Medicare, Medicare, VA benefits and other programs can help. We can offer different alternatives and scenarios and even help when your family is in conflict over whether the move is the right choice. This is where an aging life care manager presents a much better value than a “placement service” (even if they’re “free” to you because they’re paid referral fees from facilities, your costs may be greater in the long run).
3. We focus on what’s important to you.
There is no ONE best nursing home or assisted living. Florida Healthfinder shows approximately 200 active licenses for assisted living facilities in Pinellas County and about 70 nursing homes. We have seen families come to town to visit armed with this huge list. You will exhaust yourself visiting all of them and many can be eliminated quickly based on your needs and preferences.
We help you narrow down (or expand) the options, taking into account the things that might be most important in your situation. For example, there may be a nursing home with a slightly better reputation that is an extra 30-minute drive for a client’s elderly spouse. He would visit every day, but a long drive may make this difficult. Having a regular visitor/advocate would likely make this the better choice for all involved. There are so many factors like this, such as specialized programs, activities, which doctors visit, and which hospitals are nearby. We can help you understand these factors and analyze their importance.
4. We organize the search and transition process.
We simplify things for you and anticipate what you will need (and key mistakes to avoid). For example, we advise people on timing the move and the various tasks that will need to be done for the move. We take you/your family on visits so that we can discuss your thoughts in real time and make sure you get your questions answered. We have resources for just about everything you need for moving, from estate sales and appraisers to real estate agents and movers.
5. A care manager’s service doesn’t end with “placement”.
Finding the right place is only half the battle. We can help your family on the days leading up to and the day of the move, key times to make sure everything goes smoothly. Follow up visits smooth out the small bumps that inevitably happen at even the best facilities (and since we’ve done this many times before we know what to ask/plan for to avoid most problems). We can offer continued advocacy and oversight services, or simply be hired to be “on call” for you for emergencies.
To get help with nursing home or assisted living needs, plus an array of care management and patient advocacy services: