When a family member (usually an aging parent) begins to require additional assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), the family can be lost as to where they should start the process of finding guidance.
When family members begin to search for answers online, the often query information with search terms like “senior care”, “elder care”, or ‘senior living communities”.
For many searches, that will tend to generate a long list of communities that are near your physical location. Or, the search may include links to sites like aplaceformom.com. All of these links can often confuse the searcher more than they help the searcher. They generally don’t know enough to talk with a specific community.
Some of the questions that you should start with don’t focus on the ‘facility’, they focus on your loved one.
Questions you should ask first include:
As you see, these starter questions are focused on the aging parent and their needs. It is only after there is a fuller understanding of their needs will the discussion of housing make sense.
Different eldercare facilities offer different levels of service and it is important to have a list of required services that your elder family member requires BEFORE talking to a senior living community. Otherwise, you may not realize that a critical service need is not provided until after your family member has moved in.
And to help you work through the initial, but very important, questions is an eldercare advisor (also referred to as a senior living advisor.)
Beginning your search with one of the local communities may work for you. But, what most often happens is they will present their facility in the ‘best light’ for your needs, and downplay those service needs that they don’t provide.
As another option, contacting an online referral platform like A Place for Mom does not guarantee you that they know enough about your family member’s needs OR that they have any first hand experience with the recommended facilities.
An Eldercare Advisor is not representing one facility’s interest. They work with a large portfolio of communities that they have PERSONAL experience with… meaning, they have walked the property, generally placed other seniors in the facilities, and know the leadership and staff. They will have a better understanding of what will make for a ‘good fit’ between the facility and the senior.
Ultimately, this advisory service is free for the family no matter who provides it, as the community pays any placement fees to the referring party. The difference is in the knowledge and personal engagement of an Eldercare Advisor.
So, when starting a search online to learn about eldercare living options, shouldn’t your first search question be – “Is there an eldercare advisor near me?”.