Choosing a supportive living option for a family member can present a variety of challenges, and the decision can be complex. With so many factors to consider, you may lack confidence in your ability to select the right community for your relative’s needs.
To assist you as you review supportive living environments, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes to avoid. By watching out for these pitfalls, you can choose an ideal enrichment program.
Making Location the Deciding Factor
For most people considering supportive communities, location is a key factor in the final decision. Location does matter; if you plan to visit your relative on a frequent basis, you’ll want to ensure that the community is within a reasonable drive.
However, it’s important to understand that to fully thrive, your family member will need to meet new people and build his or her own life in the new community. Your visits will remain appreciated, but the overall environment as a whole also is critical to your family member’s ongoing vitality and well-being.
No matter how close the community is to your home, you will find times that you simply cannot visit due to responsibilities with work or other family members. In those situations, you will feel better if you know that your relative has plenty of stimulating hobbies, interests, activities and new friends.
Failing to Think Ahead
Many people choose communities based on the current needs or desires of their family members. Remember, once you choose a supportive living community, your relative will likely live there for a number of years, and their needs will change.
You certainly should consider the factors that will make the individual comfortable, happy and engaged today. Is the atmosphere welcoming? Are there activities and hobbies he or she will enjoy?
But it’s critical to think ahead and consider what future health needs your relative might have. Will there be suitable activities if his mobility becomes impaired? Is specialized care available should she begin to have additional health problems?
To meet both the current and future needs of your relative, consider a community that offers a continuum of care. If independent living is the best option now, but if your relative requires additional care in the future, a community with a continuum of care options can provide the right levels of services and amenities for many years to come.
The most expensive communities are not always the best for an individual’s needs. As you review supportive living options, it’s important to keep your relative’s budget in mind and consider communities that fit within the available financial resources.
Consider how your family member will pay for a move to a supportive living community. Options may include using savings, ongoing income such as a pension or Social Security, or selling a home.
As you review your relative’s financial options, consider the services and amenities that will provide the most benefits. Beautiful views, welcoming common areas, chef-prepared meals and serene outdoor spaces all may assist your family member in enjoying a vibrant lifestyle.
Not Involving the Individual
Your relative should have a significant say in the community you choose, since he or she will be living there for many years. As someone who wants the best for your family member, you may be tempted to choose the community that you prefer.
It’s important to realize that your relative’s needs and preferences may differ from yours, and that your family member may not appreciate the same type of environment you would.
As much as possible, try to have your family member involved in the decision. If the individual is able, consider visiting the community at least once so your relative can get a feel for the environment and meet staff members and residents. If your relative has memory loss or other conditions that might preclude taking an active role in the selection, try to choose a community that will best fit his or her personality and preferences.
Skipping a Visit to the Community
With so much information available online these days, it can be tempting to make decisions without visiting a supportive living community in person. However, visiting is important for getting an overall feel.
Be sure to note whether residents appear comfortable and satisfied, along with the demeanor and friendliness of staff members. Try to schedule a tour and have a meal before making a selection.
At Forest Hill, residents enjoy a scenic location in Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula. Our full-service, supportive living community is housed in a beautifully renovated, historic hotel that now combines classic beauty with all the modern conveniences your family member needs to thrive. To schedule your visit, please contact us.