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Time Pressures in Researching Assisted Living Facilities Christy Rakoczy

September 13th, 2013

TimeFar to often families face major time pressure when looking for a facility for a senior to live in. Often, seniors will be reluctant to enter into an assisted living or nursing home facility, preferring to maintain their independence for as long as possible. This can lead to a situation where a senior lives alone for too long until a state of emergency is reached. This emergency may be a triggering event such as a fall or a stroke, or it may occur when a near-injury or near-death experience happens, such as a relative coming over to find that an absent-minded senior has left the stove on.

Unfortunately, this means that in many situations, a senior needs to be placed into an assisted living facility or a nursing home quickly as the senior is clearly no longer able to live on his or her own without being at risk. This can leave families scrambling to get a senior into a safe environment right away, with minimal time for researching and choosing the right facility.

Time Pressures in Researching Assisted Living Facilities

Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities have waiting lists to find open beds or open units, especially in the most desirable facilities that offer specialized care or that allow couples to stay together in home-like units.

If it is essential to get a senior into a facility right away, there may be no time to get on the waiting list for the right type of facility. This can cause families to simply look for the first acceptable place with an open bed, even if that facility doesn’t provide the right type of care or the essential services that the senior would need to maintain optimum health and quality of life.

A family member struggling to care for an aging relative who needs to be in an assisted living facility may have limited time to visit individual facilities and to conduct the in-depth research needed to compare services and reputation for the facility.  This, too, can lead to snap decisions being made based that result in a senior being placed in the wrong type of facility or in an environment that is not appropriate given the state of the senior’s health.

Avoiding these problems is important, especially when a senior is placed in an assisted living facility since such facilities are generally not as well-regulated as nursing homes are.  The services provided in different assisted living facilities can also vary much more than those provided in nursing homes since these types of living environments are intended as an intermediate step for a senior who cannot live totally alone but who does not yet need full-time nursing home care.  It is thus imperative that the assisted living facility be properly researched.

To ensure that you have ample time to find the right living environment for your loved one, it is advisable to begin a search for a facility before it becomes a medical emergency to move the senior in.

Comments

  1. Julian Santos September 14, 2013

    I can’t tell you how many times I see families scramble last minute to find viable options. It is vital that people do not only understand the options out there but know what is “realistic”. It is the job of the social worker to inform the family as much as possible the second they are within the hospital and starting to think about other types of care providers. They must know what is within their budget, care needs and geographic constraints. We as professionals need to do a better job to inform all stakeholders within the care coordination process!

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