By : Brooke Chaplan
“Retirement home,” even in the twenty-first century, still carries a negative stigma. For many families, placing an elderly loved one in a retirement home brings up images of loneliness and maltreatment. Fortunately, the face of retirement care has changed, but there are still important questions to be asked when searching for a place for your loved one. Four of the most important are listed here.
“What Kind of Care is Provided?”
These days, retirement care exists on many levels. Some elderly clients can continue to live in apartments or duplexes with minimal help. Others need moderate assistance, and still others need full-time nursing care. Ask how much of this spectrum the home or community you’re examining covers. Also ask about staff credentials. Fully trained doctors and nurses should be either on staff full-time, or living near the residence and available when needed. If your loved one has a specific disability, ask about care related to it as well.
“What is the Environment Like?”
In general, you want a place for your loved one that encourages activity, vitality, learning, and comfort, even and especially to those who need full-time physical or mental care. Ask to tour the home yourself on a typical day, and inquire about activities. How often do the residents go out into the community? Are residents allowed to keep their own money? Are classes or workshops offered to interested persons? Positive answers to these questions are a good sign.
“How Often Can I Visit?”
One of the hallmarks of an abusive situation is the discouragement of visitors. Of course, depending upon the community and the needs of residents, there may be some restrictions, but in general, an answer like, “Only Tuesdays between two and four,” should alarm you. Ideally, visitors will be welcome anytime, although some places will prefer that you call ahead.
“How Much Will Care Cost?”
This is often the last thing families want to think of, but it is a consideration. Ask any financial advisers on staff to work with you on payment plans, and ask if there are different pay grades for different levels of needed care. Also, beware of any situation in which Medicaid or SSI funds are used to pay for a loved one’s place in a home or community.
If you know what to look for in a retirement community, your loved one can become content there. These tips can help ease everyone’s mind, and help you keep your family intact.
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