Armed with a few more pieces of information, you can be more prepared to decide whether your parents should move from their home to assisted care.
The routine that your parents have and their overall health will be important precursors to what level of assisted care they might need and how well they will make the transition. It is important to take an in-depth look at how they accomplish all the tasks required in a day: everything from cooking, to laundry, to driving, to paying bills. Your parents may be able to accomplish the automatic tasks that will reasonably get them through the day; it just might take them longer. However, there may be other signs that suggest that living independently at home might not be possible. Some families discover delinquent bills nestled in sock drawers while check books are in another part of the house. Some begin to notice that their parents clothe themselves in the same outfits each time they visit, yet the laundry detergent goes unopened. Some have even found pots and pans in the washing machine. The extent of the disruption of a regular routine can suggest the need for assisted living versus independent living. It can even suggest the onset of memory impairments that might require some additional assisted living needs.
Now, what about your parents’ health? When was the last time they saw their physician and for what condition? You might not be able to obtain this information from the physician due to privacy laws, but you can certainly get an overall sense of their health by exploring the medicine cabinet. How many medications are in there? What are they for? When are the expiration dates? Can your parents tell you what the medicine is, why they take it, how often, and what they do if they have a reaction to it? You can learn a lot by how specific (or not) the answers are to those questions. The determination of your parents’ health will give you the information to ask better questions about medication administration when visiting an assisted living community.
Finally, consider the type of support system that your parents’ currently have. Do they have friends with whom they visit or who regularly visit them? Are they active in their church? Do they have hobbies or activities that they enjoy? The answers to these questions will give you information to ask about activities, transportation, and social networks in an assisted living community.
So, you now have a wealth of information to begin your quest for an assisted living community that will match your parents’ needs. Now all you have to do is find it! HOW??? That comes next…