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Locating and Using an Assisted Living Facility

Published by Anonymous on 2005/10/29 (3842 reads)
In the past twenty years assisted living facilities have become quite common. If you feel like you or an elderly or disabled loved one could benefit from greater supervision while still being independent, such a facility might be just for you. But, not without following a few suggestions first. Recently, Barb spoke about this subject with Dr. James Griffin, Station Director at KEOM 88.5 FM in one of their Community Focus segments. Here's the script from a segment we recorded on September 28, 2005.

Recorded September 28, 2005 in the KEOM 88.5FM studios.
Locating and Using an Assisted Living Facility

Dr. Griffin: So, Barb, I understand we're talking about assisted living facilities today?


Barb: That's right. I thought that it might be helpful to spend some time talking about things related to assisted living. We see so many of them being built in our neighborhoods, and I think we just drive by them and imagine them to be old folks homes. But, they serve a much more important purpose than that. As the term suggests, they are designed to provide help to the elderly, and oftentimes anyone who has some condition that limits their ability to get around, but they are still able to do most things independently. So, an assisted living facility allows a person to remain mostly independent, who might otherwise end up in a skilled nursing facility.

Dr. Griffin: What services do they typically provide?

Barb: Generally, they provide some limited assistance with what we call ADLs or Activities of Daily Living such as toileting, eating, bathing, dressing and walking, three meals a day, access to medical providers, some help with medications, activities, a secure environment, opportunities for socialization, and monitoring with emergency alert systems. Additionally, there are some assisted living facilities that provide support especially to those with Alzheimer's Disease or other dementias. An important point to remember is that these facilities are not nursing homes and will not provide the level of skilled medical care that either an inpatient or skilled nursing facility would. They are quite valuable, though, in that they provide a place where a person can live independently for the most part, can still live alone, but also have resources that can assist them when they need help.

Dr. Griffin: What kind of costs are involved?

Barb: The costs vary widely and are generally paid monthly. At this time, they are usually paid completely by family or client. Sometimes, insurance or a long term care policy will provide some reimbursement. Occasionally, other programs are also available to help with the price. There is not, at this time, a government program that defrays these costs.

Dr. Griffin: What should a person look for when placing a loved one in a facility?


Barb: First, be aware of your first impression. While living in an assisted living facility WILL BE DIFFERENT than living at home, you should still trust your senses to see if things “feel right” about a facility. That first glance, smell, and encounter may offer a lot of intangible awareness that shouldn't be missed. If appropriate, they should take along their loved one, and, inasmuch as possible, make them part of the decision making process. They should look for someplace where the staff and residents seem friendly, the facility is kept clean and neat, there is evidence of activities that are well attended, and the costs are manageable. They should seek a facility that is relatively near them. It would be good to try to see if you can strike up a conversation, even with housekeeping staff and other residents – ask for their thoughts about the facility. It is important to get a complete list of costs, services provided for those costs, and a sense about how each task of each day is accomplished in that facility. Special attention should be paid to safety issues: Are the carpets in good repair, are doors, bathrooms, cabinets, and other items in the room easily managed. Is it possible to navigate through the rooms with the imagined furniture in place? All these things ask for us to imagine what living there will really require and will offer us. Although Assisted Living facilities can’t take the place of home, they can offer valuable assistance and services that many persons could never receive at home!

Tags: care   home   term   long   nursing   living   assisted   skilled  

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