How Do I Know They're Getting Good Care?

Find a good assisted living community and make yourself a regular presence in the facility and develop relationships with the staff, if possible. Ask questions. Monitor your elderly loved one's behavior, what they say, and pay special attention if you notice any bruises or cuts on his or her body. By asking questions and maintaining communication with staff, it is easier to keep tabs on the care your parent is receiving. If you suspect elder abuse or neglect, talk to a supervisor or contact an ombudsman.

What Happens When Mom's Alzheimer's Worsens? Will She Have to Move?

Usually Alzheimer's and dementia patients stay in assisted living. Again, Alzheimer's and dementia care is handled on a case-by-case basis. Many assisted living facilities offer a secure unit for residents with limited memories. If you do not want your parent in a memory unit, you can always hire a private duty nurse. Private duty nurses allow seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's to stay in their current apartment, rather than in a secure unit. Check with your parent's facility to learn its policy. Finally, when seniors can no longer function without 24 hour assistance, the move to a nursing home may be required.

How Big are the Rooms? Can Couples Live Together?

Room sizes can vary. There are studio apartments and one, two or three bedroom apartments. They have private bathrooms (nursing homes usually have shared bathrooms). Some even have kitchenettes. Couples usually can live together, but it is best to check with the facility first.

Can Mom or Dad Socialize with Others? What if They Don't Want to? Is There Privacy?

One of the benefits of an assisted living facility is that there are group activities available for residents. Everything from games to exercise classes to happy hours are offered. However, if your parent does not like to participate in group activities, social interaction can still happen at meal time, since meals are usually eaten in the community dining room.

If your parent desires complete privacy they have the option of staying in their apartment and even eating meals in their apartment. Sometimes privacy cannot be given though, if your parent needs assistance with certain things. For instance, if your parent wants privacy during meal time, but he or she needs assistance eating, they may opt to eat in their apartment, but a staff member will still need to be with them to assist.

What Will Mom Do All Day?

A vital part of quality of life is social interaction and assisted living facilities aim to provide a means for that interaction. A variety of activities are offered to ensure that your parent has something to do that fits their interests. There are many kinds of games offered, such as bingo, board games, puzzles and cards. There are social parties. There is usually some kind of physical exercise activity. There are movie nights. Also, entertainers of all sorts come in, and there are usually one to two different entertainers per week. There may be musical entertainment one night and a magician another night. Good assisted living facilities offer many different activities to suit people's needs and interests. If you are concerned with a facility's activity schedule, talk to the activities director. They are open for suggestions!

Are Assisted Living Residents Kept on a Daily Schedule?

Yes and no. Elders in assisted living still maintain some sort of independence and can decide which activities in which they wish to participate. For example, if your parent usually plays bingo, he or she can decide not to play one day. They do not have to go with activities schedules. Your parent will be on a daily schedule when it comes to things like meals, medication, bathing, dressing and grooming, and housekeeping.

Your parent will eat three meals per day: one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. There is a window of time allowed for certain needs. For instance, if your parent needs assistance with bathing, he or she will know that a staff member comes to their apartment on a certain day between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

What If They Don't Remember to Take Their Medications?

If a resident does not remember to take medication regularly, staff can assist with that. A nurse may call the resident to come to the nursing station to take medication or a nurse may visit the resident's apartment and administer the medication. If you feel that your parent needs assistance with remembering medication, talk to the nursing staff at the facility.

Does Mom or Dad Need a Car? How Do They Get to the Doctor?

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Many facilities allow residents to have cars if they are able to drive. It is not imperative that your parent has a car. Assisted living facilities have transportation available for residents for doctor appointments, banking needs, etc.

What Happens if an Elder has an Emergency at Assisted Living?

There are a variety of ways for staff to be informed of an emergency. Many assisted living facilities have emergency pull-cord systems. A pull cord would be placed in every room of a resident's apartment and if he or she needs assistance, they can pull the cord and the receptionist will be alerted to send for help.

Another emergency device is a panic button. Residents may wear a necklace with a panic button that alerts the receptionist that there has been an emergency. Panic buttons are particularly useful for falls.

In assisted living, residents are checked on multiple times per day since they need care for different things. Often, if a staff member has not seen a resident for awhile, he or she may pop in the room just to check on them and make sure everything is okay.

How Do I Know Mom or Dad Will be Safe?

Security is available in the form of emergency security and general community security. Guests are required to sign in so that the facility knows who comes in and out of the building. Also, to ensure caregiving safety, staff members must pass a background check prior to being hired.