Many people enter CCRC's and never leave their independent-living units. Others need the extra help. The most important feature of continuing care is that all needs can be met. Family members can be assured that if their loved one's health status changes, the on-site resources are there to provide support. Because these communities provide so many levels of support, they can be expensive; but for many families, the comfort in knowing that any change to Mom's health condition can be addressed without necessitating another move is worth it.
Steps in the Process
Once you decide that a loved one needs a change in housing, you and your family members are advised to meet and evaluate what is best for your loved one. Here are some tips to guide you:
Determine what help your loved one needs. This could mean getting a professional assessment, which will provide everyone with specifics when selecting among options.
- Visit a number of residences; don't see just one.
- When you take a tour, be sure to talk to residents, staff, and visiting family members.
- Ask staff members how long they've worked there; a good sign of quality is low turnover.
- Check with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Many assisted-living residences, nursing homes, and CCRCs voluntarily apply for accreditation, which means they meet many quality measures.
- Be sure you get clear information on costs and the details for all financial arrangements.
- Talk with your loved one about what is important to him or her as you narrow your options.
A Simple Refrain
Be kind to yourself. Together with your loved one, you're making the best decision you can with the information and resources you have at hand, so try not to get caught up in the emotion of the moment. None of us has a crystal ball that tells us everything about the future.
Again, remember that the situation could change in the future. The senior apartment might not work if your mom ends up needing help with bathing. The assisted-living residence might not be able to help your dad if his skilled-nursing requirements increase.
Again, as the song goes, "Home is where the heart is, no matter how the heart lives. Inside your heart where love is, that's where you've got to make yourself at home."
As you and your family members make decisions about what housing option is best for your loved one, keep the "heart" in the "home."