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How do you get families to understand that independent living is just what it says it is? There are no services in these types of facilities and the staff is not in the capacity to monitor whereabouts, medications or anything else. Families are responsible for their loved ones and their needs unless they are in assisted living etc. A big frustration of mine is families depositing their aging loved ones and not wanting to listen when I tell them more services or a different facility is needed. I would love some insight on why this happens and how to get through to them.

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? I don't think I said anything about TLC, did I...? Not that it matters.

I completely understand that it must be frustrating when people visit your facility, see what it comprises, and then stubbornly close their eyes and move their frail, dependent elders in there anyway.

But you were asking why. And one reason is that the elder won't consider anything that involves a higher level of care = interference in their freedom of action; another is wishful thinking; another is desperation, as in "placement comes first"; yet another is cost. What it all amounts to is false economies and short-term thinking; and yes, it must leave you all too often with your heart in your mouth about how you're going to cope with these people, and your heart in your boots about the kind of conversations you'll be facing with the relatives when it all goes belly-up.

Having said that, what can you do at your end to reject applications from obviously unsuitable candidates? Do you use some kind of formal assessment?

After all, there must be distinctions to be made between Independent Living and bog-standard rental accommodation. Otherwise what's the difference between you and any other landlord, and what's the point of calling it anything?
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In my area, before someone is allowed to even move into Independent Living, that person is assessed to be sure he/she can manage on their own.

My Dad is lucky to be in an independent living facility where there is optional care available at an added cost when the time comes. For example, my Dad has the "med option" where the facility comes twice a day to dispense his prescription medicine. And more recently I also opted for the higher care option where an Aide helps Dad get ready for bed at night, and checks on him every couple of hours.

As for families not realizing what level of care the love one needs I think is quite common. It's the family first rodeo so they aren't sure what to do or why. Many of us are in denial, I know I was when recently the IL side of the facility said it is time to think about moving Dad to the AL side of the facility.
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I hope this won't sound cynical, but I think one reason is that families use IL as the thin end of the wedge when their loved ones are resistant to any kind of change. "Your own front door, come and go as you please, help is there if you need it but not if you don't..." [Loved One thinks "good 'cos I don't. Not Me."] You can big it up as a kind of full-service apartment.

So it can be a first step in getting consent to leave their family homes and move into a place where at least somebody will notice if they're lying outside their front door. Whereas if you try whisking them, whammo, into a full-on care environment they will fight it tooth and nail until the day comes of the broken hip and no choice at all about where they get carted off to.

But are you running or working in an IL facility where there is no option to scale up the level of assistance? I'd have thought that continuing care is becoming the norm, isn't it?
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Still thinking about this question but in the mean time I'd like to turn it around just a bit and ask you one, WEA2016. My parents had a two bedroom/two bathroom apartment in a large continuing care retirement community. As I noted above it came with a once a week housekeeper and alarm pendants - there was also a $230 monthly dining room credit that reset each month, no carry-over. Five years ago my parents paid $3,500 a month rent. Anywhere else in our city except for the waterfront this apartment would have gone for $1,000 a month - tops. So why shouldn't it be expected that a little extra TLC from staff be the norm?
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My apologies to you, Churchmouse- for taking the heat that should have come to me. I was the one who mentioned a little TLC. However, Churchmouse made my point for me in her reply - and that is - if there is no extra attention, why on earth are the residents paying two to three times the rent for a comparable apartment elsewhere and what's the point it calling it anything different. The difference in title and hefty rent implies if nothing else - more. I'd hate to think it's all just a scam to get into the pocketbooks of already frighten seniors and their equally frighten families.
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My parents IL place came with "I've fallen and I can't get up" pendants and a weekly housekeeper - things they could have had in their house. But there also was a procedure in place for someone to check in on them if their toilets hadn't been flushed by a certain hour in the morning- no kidding.
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I have to say the same attitude applies to assisted living, families assume everything is taken care of so they can just go on their merry way. Meanwhile mom can't get to the store to buy her toothpaste and incontinence supplies, dad isn't taking his medication because the contract says he manages on his own, Mr Smith hasn't any pants left because he threw them all away when he had "accidents", and the hospital has discharged someone back to the AL because they think there is care available... yeah, one or two warm bodies on the night shift, and one of those is working in the laundry.
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I have often said that more important than giving prospective residents a list of the amenities of their new home, be it IL or AL, would be a list of things NOT covered. And someone should take the time to go over this point by point at the time contracts are signed so there can be no excuse for lack of understanding.
Another thing that I see as a problem is that long term residents are not reassessed as often as they should be. It has also been my experience that sometimes management will keep a resident who should have a higher level of care because they don't want a vacant room, a problem in some of the older buildings because people opt for the newer options.
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What is the reason for independent living if there is no supervision? i understand it is a means of downsizing the elders living arrangements but at what cost?
Why not just move the loved on into a senior apartment until they do actually need help. It is probably cheaper and may even have the rent subsidized. A phone call once or twice a day and visits to take the person shopping or bring supplies may be all that is needed in the beginning. Adding a lifeline pendant if the facility does not have an emergency call button is helpful and getting such services as meals on wheels or county health services where available. All of these things exist where I live and one of the local pharmacies will deliver drugs and basic food supplies. A local bus service is also available which is handicapped access able to go to places like Walmart. This is all in a small city in upstate NYS. Our hospice had several patients who were able to remain in this accommodation till the end of life.
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Absolutely right Veronica! If all an apartment complex offers is age restricted housing then there is little justification for the increased rents they charge. Even if the complex management does not provide extra care they should have a relationship with outside service providers that can be recommended as needed.
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