Wanted: an app that puts dinner on the table, pays the bills, lets the dog out, does laundry, and finds senior housing for Mom.
If there was such a thing, caregivers around the world would certainly be entitled — and standing in line. However, despite our many advances, there are some tasks that just can’t be automated, and that is what makes being a caregiver so demanding. There is always something to do, always a need to be met. Who has time to be proactive in the midst of that madness?
But — voice of reason here -- being proactive is ideal when you’re caring for a senior, because things can change very quickly. One day, Mom may be fully capable of living alone; the next, you may be scrambling to find an available apartment in a local assisted living community. The hospital waiting room is really not the ideal place (nor are you in the right frame of mind there) for making such a major decision. Or, if you don’t have to make a decision under pressure, it’s easy to push the search process aside, thinking, “I’ll get to it later.”
Taking that first step is half the battle. Consider these tips for finding the best senior housing fit — whenever the time is right — for your family member:
- Take notes. “What does Mom want” (not, what does daughter, husband or niece think is best) should be at the center of all conversations. Would she prefer a large retirement community with lots of activities? Would a small studio apartment suit her, or would she like a larger space?
- Ask around. What is the community/provider’s reputation in the region? Have any of your friends, colleagues, or neighbors considered this community for their family members? (Check out our post on how to use social media for a senior living search.)
- Narrow down. Once you’ve talked about preferences and found a few ideal locations, narrow down your list by hammering out the practical details — i.e. what can we afford, where will she get the care she needs for the long-term, etc.
- Go visit. Don’t say yes sight unseen. If possible, visit the top communities on your list more than once, and at different times of the day, to get the full scope of how the community runs.
At SeniorsForLiving.com, we just made things even simpler, thanks to a new partnership with Xerox: Once you’ve selected the places you’d like to evaluate in person, you can now connect directly with the community to schedule your tour.