Monday, August 13, 2018

Look Before You Leap: Visit, Shop Around Long Term Care

Even if you have no intention of "going into" a Long Term Care Facility.....SHOP AROUND AS THOUGH YOU NEEDED IT NOW.... or someone you care about is already in imminent need.

Why?  Simple.  We shop for everything else in life but almost all of us don't think we "need" to shop for something we "don't need at the moment". 

How many college visits did you make with your kids? How many people did you date before deciding this was "the one"? Belong to an organization, a club or even making a choice where to eat or meet -- most of us put more into those choices than we do "a place to live" when living means more extensive medical care and supervision.

You need to visit more than once and walk the facility, all areas, check out the on line information from the DHSS including Annual Reports. 

Know where you/your loved one wants to go if it's the choice that needs to be made. IF YOU DON'T, you'll settle for someone telling you where to go and what's available and won't have any ability to choose, you'll just have to "go" where you're told "has space".

Google/Search the web for comments from people who have loved ones there and you won't always find it where you think it will be.  Look for Blogs about families with loved ones in LTC, Assisted Living or Independent Living. 

Visit every facility within a twenty five mile radius of where you want to reside or place a loved one.

Why that distance? Easier to get to for you in times of need and just to visit more frequently because it's closer.

Do not eliminate any facility because it appears to be high priced or very inexpensive. 

You'll get ideas and see the possibilities to look for at those that are in your budget or category of care range.

Just as you'd shop for a home or apartment -- make a list of what inclusions and features you want to have.

Is there an outside area that residents can use BY THEMSELVES and without having to be "admitted". 

Even if they have mental challenges or wander, an enclosed patio with sturdy chairs, of adequate height and with arms for pushing the body up and easing down, are important.

Put yourself in "their" place. 

Have them use their cane or walker and walk with you from point to point to see their abilities and challenges.

Remember! Their movement will usually become less and less and they will probably advance to other forms of self movement that are more limiting as time passes.

Get into a wheelchair and see from their perspective how far it actually is to get to the dining room, the main area where family and friends visit and even from one room to another on a floor to visit a new "friend". 

Attend a meeting of the Resident Council and the Family Council. They are two separate organizations.

These should be open to the general public although membership is generally exclusive to residents in the one and to family members/friends of residents, in the other.

Talk with residents about what they did today, yesterday and even a few days ago.  

What does the facility do to transport residents to outside activities and for excursions (shopping, etc)?  
Who goes? How are they selected? What's the cost?

Walk with your nose leading the way. 
If there's a smell of urine or other waste products, human or food or whatever, it's not "natural" and "to be expected. 

It's a housekeeping necessity and if this isn't taken care of, what else that might cause infections and other medical problems could there be?

What do you need to ensure you're given immediate access to records (if you have Power of Attorney; and if you don't, someone definitely needs this and Medical Power of Attorney).

Most people spend as little time as possible seeing these as the last place they ever want to live. I understand. Mom always told me that. If  you've read our story, you know Mom was manipulated and controlled by someone using Undue Influence at a time when her Lewy Body Dementia was starting to become more and more extensive and she was "mallable". 

Your life is busy. You don't need one more thing to do. I get it. 

It's your life. It's your choice.....or it should be.

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