Considering an Assisted Living Place for Your Mom, Dad or Spouse? Part I
Recently, I visited with a husband whose wife had advanced Alzheimer’s. A month ago he reluctantly and with tears in his eyes put her in a facility that specialized in this type of care but within weeks he knew this was not the right place for her. So he took her back into their home until he could find a better place.
When considering an eldercare facility, it is important to look beyond the aesthetics like fine linen, fresh flowers, and well-prepared meals.
Gerontologist Louise Aronson feels that it is important to walk around a facility randomly at different times of day other than when you have a scheduled visit with the marketing director.
She points out that you “should look at the residents and the staff: Are people talking to each other and smiling at meals and during activities? When residents meet in the hallways, do they stop to chat and discuss their plans for the day? Does the staff talk to the people who live there, or only to each other and on their phones?”
“And how do the residents treat the staff? Do their interactions seem to be part of an ongoing personal relationship? Equally important, in the best places, residents greeted staff people by name, asked about their kids or what they did on their day off.”
Too many places meant to care for the elderly do too few of the things that make for a meaningful, happy life, and the monthly fees at many of the better places mean they are only available to the wealthiest Americans.
Terry Pfau DO, HMD