It’s never an easy decision to start looking for a care home or retirement community for your parents or elderly loved ones. It’s a choice that can feel loaded and complicated, and you know that this is a huge step with a lot of big changes. However, it does not need to be a painful process, in fact, it shouldn’t be. With the right preparation and conversations, this can be a very positive moment for everyone involved as you help them get the medical care they need, the round-the-clock observation that you cannot provide, and a new community of friends they will cherish. Here are a few things to remember as you set out on this journey.
Do Your Research
Anyone looking for a suitable retirement community or care home will have a list of worries and the reasons why they haven’t taken that big step yet. At the top of the list will be those nightmare stories we hear about the bad ones; you know the ones. So, before you make any commitments, do a little (or a lot!) of research to help put your mind at rest. Talk to friends and family members who have already gone on this journey. If they don’t have a direct recommendation, they will at least have some advice on what to look out for. Read reviews and go on local forums to see if any facilities in your area come strongly recommended or otherwise. And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask the home any questions you might have, and pay them a visit to have a look for yourself before you bring your loved one to see it.
Think About Their Needs
Just as your loved one is one of a kind, the needs they have are unique to them. It’s vitally important when selecting a care or retirement home for them that you know that they can provide the specific care they require. Any home worth their salt will be entirely up front with you about whether or not they can really cater for any medical or social requirements that you might be looking for, so don’t be afraid to ask. It will be worth double checking with your loved one’s physician to make sure you have a comprehensive list of all their needs before you start talking to homes yourself. You should also think carefully about where the home is in relation to you, or other relatives and loved ones who will be visiting as you’ll want to be close by.
Consider The Community
A care home isn’t just about the medical support and the quality of the beds. There’s a reason why many homes prefer the term “retirement community”, and it’s because this should be a place where your loved one can make new friends and form a social circle that they can enjoy and rely on. Take St. Anne’s in West Hempfield Township, Pennsylvania, a retirement community that takes the “community” part to heart. They are a Catholic-Centered community that offers spiritual support as well as the other kinds of care your loved ones need, and their faith respects and welcomes residents from all faiths and walks of life. That kind of mission statement and community is the kind of thing you want to look for.
How Will The Care Be Paid For?
This is a vital step when you’re thinking about where your loved one will be living. Costs of retirement homes may vary from location to location, but you will absolutely need to have a detailed plan of how this will be funded. Whether the local authority or council will be contributing, whether your insurance will cover some of the costs, or whether you’re going to be paying for it all yourself, it is very important to have all of this mapped out. Moving into a retirement community is an emotional process that is not without its difficulties, and you are going to want to avoid disruption wherever possible. If you know that a home is out of your budget, cross it off the list now instead of committing to a month or two and hoping for the best.
Involve Your Loved One
As we’ve said, this is not a small step that you’re taking, and it’s important to remember that it’s not just you who is taking it. While it may not always be possible, it will help enormously to involve your loved one in this decision. Give them as much information as possible about where they are going, and what kind of care, accommodation and activities they can look forward to. It might not always be easy, but conversation and consultation will help them feel less like this is a process that’s happening without them, and remind them that this is a chapter of their life to be excited about, and that you will absolutely be a part of.