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When searching for the best fit for an assisted living community, understand that many families have been right where you are and found success. Some, however, learned the hard way what not to do when looking for an assisted living community.

If we can simply learn from the mistakes of others, we can bypass difficulties and create a smooth transition to the best possible fit in an assisted living community for our loved one. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when searching for an assisted living community:

  1. Rushing into a decision. In most major decisions, he who makes haste with his feet errs. The product of quick decisions is often subpar when compared to a well thought out decision based on facts.
    • Solution: Instead of rushing into a decision, take the time necessary to seriously look into the best options. Narrow your search by comparing the amenities, quality of care, and overall gut sense about each facility you tour.
  2. Thinking things are as they were with mom or dad. Thinking mom or dad are the same as they were several years ago could influence the choice for the right fit in assisted living. The reality is, when people age, they change. They may have loved socializing and had a knack for remembering names in the past, but presently they may prefer to live with more solitude, and may not remember names or other facts as readily as they once did.
    • Solution: Be sensitive to the changes in your mom or dad’s physical health, mobility, and personal preferences. Realize they may have been an avid golfer in the past, but have developed different interests now due to their energy level and possibly their physical health.
  3. Making the final decision for parents instead of with parents. Avoid thinking you need to make this decision for your parents. They are the ones who will live in the assisted living community, and to decide for them may cost you in the long run. There is a level of dignity and honor that is denied if parents don’t have a say in the final decision.
    • Solution: Visit facilities with your parents and spend time in the ones that stand out to your mom or dad. After you tour facilities, listen to the candid feedback your loved ones give. Trust their intuition as well as yours. Refrain from the urge to tell them what to do, even if you have their best interests at heart. Ask questions about what they liked or didn’t like, and make a note of their responses after each tour. When it comes time to make a final decision, work together to discover the options that will meet their present and future needs.
  4. Trusting that luxury living and fancy décor equal quality care. Avoid falling into the mindset that beauty in the décor ensures your loved one will receive quality care from caring staff members. It’s possible that some modestly decorated assisted living communities offer thoughtful, compassionate care that exceeds the level of care at the luxury assisted living community. Don’t just look at the surface while touring potential options. Instead, look more deeply at the way residents and staff interact with each other, the cleanliness of the facility, and the overall happiness of residents.
    • Solution: Trust your gut sense about each assisted living community you tour. Stop, look, and listen while you are within the walls of a potential new home for your loved one.
      • Stop and talk with residents and their family members, and listen long enough that you perceive if residents are truly happy and cared for at the facility.
      • Look at the cleanliness of the facility and the demeanor of the staff and residents.
      • Listen to the way staff talks with residents. Are they respectful? Are they kind? Do they seem compassionate?
  5. Choosing a facility simply due to proximity to family. The closest option isn’t always the best option. It’s noble to try to visit your loved one frequently, but if choices are made solely on proximity and convenience, we may miss the point. The goal is to find the right fit for mom or dad so they can live life to its fullest in their senior years.
    • Solution: As you and your loved ones narrow the search to 2-3 facilities, look more at your parent’s needs than your own. In the long run, you would much rather have your parent well cared for in an assisted living facility that is a little farther away from you than you would have them in close proximity, but without receiving the highest quality of care.
  6. Assuming all assisted living communities are alike. Avoid falling into the trap of thinking assisted living communities are all alike. There are vast differences in the amenities, level of care, pricing structures, and a facility’s ability to meet the potential long-term needs of residents.
    • Solution: Create a list of items you can compare at each facility you tour. Rate each of the facilities on every item, and add a place to make notes about unique features and amenities your loved one seemed to enjoy.
  7. Thinking you need to make this decision without the help of others. Avoid thinking the choice in assisted living facilities needs to be made solely as a family. There are professionals who work with these types of decisions regularly who have wisdom to offer during your decision-making process.
    • Solution: In the abundance of counsel there is victory, so take advantage of opportunities to bounce your thoughts off a health care professional in the industry. Visit with onsite admissions staff about the details and address any concerns you may have.

The Parke Assisted Living offers quality care for seniors at affordable rates. Their amenities are first class, and the smiles on their residents’ faces speak volumes about the level of care received by those who live at The Parke. For a free tour of our community, call us at 918-249-1262.