A Story about Finding Assisted Living — Part 1
One eldercare question I’m asked often is, “How do I find the best assisted living facility for my aging parents?”
I normally go through this process with adult children who are making the decision for their parents. Recently, I received a different request — please help Sally, an 82-year-young woman with no family living nearby, find an assisted living facility to move into.
I approach the placement process in three steps: (1) researching facilities, (2) visiting or touring them, and (3) deciding upon the one that will be the “best fit” for the Golden Oldies (what I prefer to call senior citizens). This series of posts will focus on the visits and decision-making process Sally and I went through together to find her a pleasing new home.
Setting the Scene
One day I received a phone call from close friends who live in New York. Their 82-year-old Aunt Sally had been out of the country visiting family for about a year. Now she was back and living temporarily with a friend in Los Angeles, but really needed a place to live on her own. Her family knew Sally was declining physically and it wasn’t really safe for her to live independently any longer. They asked me if I could help them long-distance to find an assisted living facility for her, and I was more than happy to help!
A Little Background
Even before beginning to research places, I asked for details from her family about Sally’s current physical and mental health, pertinent medical history, and how she was functioning on a list of activities of daily living (bathing, walking, eating, dressing, etc.)
Sally is a Golden Oldie born in the Philippines, who spent most of her life living in New York City and Los Angeles. According to her family’s description, Sally is completely sharp mentally, with no memory loss at all. Physically she is also in very good condition for 82! She has some hearing loss, but her biggest challenge is her failing eyesight due to macular degeneration. She can eat, dress, bathe and walk without assistance, although her family feels she is a little unsteady on her feet and may soon benefit from using a cane or walker.
Her family asked me to find a senior community in Los Angeles within Sally’s budget that offers the residents transportation for shopping and doctor’s visits, because Sally doesn’t drive. She was fine with having a roommate, too. They knew that Sally was capable of, and would insist on, being part of the decision about her new home.
Armed with these basic facts, I began my research based on my experience, online resources and the eldercare consultant organizations and networks I belong to. After coming up with an initially long list of assisted living facilities, I narrowed down the choices to two that fit Sally’s criteria. Then I made a date to meet Sally and take her to tour both possibilities.
The story about our visits to the assisted living facilities and the outcome will be covered in my next few posts. To be continued . . .