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    Getting Help from Other Caregivers

    Assisted Living Facilities continued...

    Senior care facilities usually have waiting lists. Learn about which of these facilities are available to you before you actually need them. Know that they come in all shapes and sizes.

    Common fears seniors experience in entering assisted living include loneliness, neglect or abuse, and loss of dignity. Listen to your loved one's concerns and discuss how you will address them. Most of these fears can be allayed by researching facilities beforehand, developing a plan for monitoring when your senior is in residence, and sharing your plans and information with your senior.

    "I was shocked at how receptive Dad was to the nursing home. Mom would have hated it -- it's small and you get almost no privacy. But he loves the intimacy and says it always makes him feel safe to hear the sound of other voices."
    -Miriam Gans

    If you promised your parents you would never put them in a nursing home but find now that circumstances prevent you from keeping that promise, remind your parent often how things have changed and why this is necessary. Talk about the fact that years back, when you made that promise, the well-run, clean, safe, and cheerful nursing homes that abound today were rare. Remind them that you will still be there for them, just as you are now.

    You'll need an attorney to go over contracts, check the legitimacy of fees and pricing schedules, and alert you to your rights as well as those of your parents. You'll save plenty on the lawyer's hourly rate if you choose one with plenty of experience in elder care.

    Your local Area Agency on Aging will send you a list of facilities available in your state. Visit any that are possibilities and even a few that aren't.

    The very best way to judge a facility is to ask yourself one important question: how would you feel about living there? You can get a copy of the most recent inspection report on any nursing home facility in the country by contacting Medicare.

    Visit facilities at various times of day.

    "The daytime staff at my father's first nursing home was fantastic -- really caring and personable. Then I visited one time at night -- what a difference! The little staff that were around were unmotivated and unhelpful. We switched, and I visited the second one at night beforehand."
    -Christine Sommers

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