Retirement can be a wonderful time—years to hang up your hat, put up your feet, and enjoy the rewards of a lifetime of hard work. But as we age, there comes a point where we need a little bit of extra help with day-to-day tasks.
For seniors and their caregivers, the decision to move into an Assisted Living community can be challenging: When is the right time to move? What should you look for in a community? What is the difference between Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Long-term Care? And if you move, what is the best way to navigate the process?
“These are all great questions, but unfortunately there is no one simple answer for how best to prepare for Assisted Living,” said Charmaine Press, Executive Director of Brandermill Woods. “Every person has different needs and wants, but we are here to help you navigate the process and determine what’s best for you and your family.”
If you or your loved one is considering the move into an Assisted Living community, here are three ways to prepare:
1. Know what you or your loved one wants.
One thing is certain: life happens unexpectedly. You won’t want to be making decisions under duress, so take some time now to think through what you want and when the best time to make a move would be. Some seniors want to move into a CCRC while they are still independent, while others prefer to stay in their home until they need assistance.
What are the factors that influence your decision? Sometimes, finances dictate the right choice. Other times, changing health situations or the location of your caregiver network point toward the best option. For instance, if adult children live far away and there’s no one to look in on Mom or Dad, it may be better to seek care earlier.
2. Make a plan.
Once you know what you want, it’s time to take a look at your living situation, your finances, and your caregiver network. At this stage, it can be helpful to meet with a financial adviser or an elder care attorney, who can help evaluate your income and savings, and help you build a roadmap to get where you want to go. Do you have a will? What about an advanced medical directive? What about a trust for your children or grandchildren?
The move to assisted living may be years away, but laying the groundwork today will help you or your loved one prepare—financially, mentally, and emotionally—for what could otherwise be a difficult decision. With a plan in place, everyone can rest easy. Feel free to call us at Brandermill Woods at any point if you’d like to discuss your future options. We are happy to help, and can direct you to some helpful resources.
3. Communicate early and often.
This is the single best thing you and your loved ones can do to. For seniors, it’s important to share your wishes and your plan with your loved ones. This will give them peace of mind, and will help them make sure your wishes are carried out. For loved ones, ask questions. It can be difficult for adult children to talk with their parents about assisted living, but if you communicate early and often—before the need arises—it will help everyone get on the same page.