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50+: Live Better, Longer

Getting Help from Other Caregivers

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Assisted Living Facilities continued...

There are assisted living facilities that provide multi-tiered levels of care for senior residents according to their needs and as their needs change:

  • Residents live self-sufficiently in an apartment or a town house within the assisted living community (Tier 1).
  • Residents live in an apartment or a private room where services such as meals, housekeeping, and medication supervision are provided (Tier 2).
  • Residents receive nursing home care with twenty-four-hour supervision (Tier 3). This arrangement avoids the stress and disruption involved in displacing seniors and/or their surviving spouses as their needs change.

Every nursing home is assigned a long-term care ombudsman employed by the state's Area Agency on Aging. It's the ombudsman's job to monitor the home for abuse or neglect and to mediate relations between staff, residents, and families. Contact the nursing home's ombudsman with your questions and concerns.

Especially when your mother first enters the facility, it's important to let her know you're there for her while at the same time stepping back and giving her a chance to bond with her new surroundings. Often, feelings of guilt cause us to be overprotective.

Make friends with other residents, and tell them all about your parent. Especially if Dad is modest about the fact that he was once the top Latin dancer in the country, he may attract new friends he wouldn't make on his own.

It takes about six weeks to get used to a roommate. Don't be surprised if you find Grandpa adjusting to a personality you never dreamed would mesh with his. Sometimes opposites get along best, since they have fewer territorial and power issues.

If possible, have a friend go with you to check out a place that you're seriously considering. A friend's caring but less personally attached perspective will come in handy.

Get to know someone in each department at the facility. Make friends with the guy in the kitchen, the lady who manages the laundry, the gardener, the hairdresser, and the housekeeping people. They're all members of your new family.

It usually takes residents six months to get used to living in a senior facility. Give it time. But if you're sure that everything points to the fact that this is the wrong place for Mom, get her out and find a more appropriate place.

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