What is important to know after moving a loved one into assisted living?

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I am very confused here. I was of the impression that 'assisted living' was a place where people over the age of whatever can put down a huge amount of money in order to 'get in' then pay rent that included their meals, housekeeping, etc. There are some very nice Assisted Living places where I live that have pools, etc.

At some point, they can be transferred to a 'nursing home' or what used to be called a nursing home.

If a person has vascular dementia (getting bad) I don't believe they can go into an 'assisted living' arrangement, can they? When my mother was hospitalized 14 months ago with this, they were going to try to find her a nursing home, not assisted living. ]

Are we using the word assisted living and nursing home interchangeably here?

HELP!
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Lots of good suggestions, Sunnygirl!

My mother is living in an independent living retirement home, not assisted living, though she has an outside agency coming in to assist her with bathing, dressing, medications, as well as escorting her to meals.

My mother moved to her current retirement home this past June which is only a five minute drive from my home. Previously she lived a six hour drive from my home and I was not able to see for myself how she was doing. It was an independent living setting in her previous apartment, too, but no outside agency was providing her care. Her neighbors told me she was declining. It became very evident she needed more care than what she was getting and that's why she finally agreed to move to be closer to me, her daughter.

One thing that I have noticed since my mother moved to her current independent living retirement home is that she complains to me but not to anyone else. I have come to realize that she is not always as bad off as she leads me to believe! I ask the people tending to her, her table mates and the staff at the home how she is doing. Just this last weekend I thought she was not doing very well but after talking to others there at the home they all thought she was doing quite well. They have told me when she's not doing well, too. I am learning to investigate the opinions of those people that see her every day and not only take what she says to me. She is still adjusting to her new home and I know that is hard. Deep down I feel very good about her new home, the staff, her new friends and the caregivers coming in to assist her. I have peace about all of them.
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My mother lived in assisted living for 8 years. As her abilities decreased, we kept adding more of their services, and the cost increased each time. Most assisted living centers are understaffed at night, assuming that most of the residents will be asleep. Also be aware, that he/she is still ultimately your responsibility, and the staff will call you whenever there's a problem and want your advice.
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I would give them a chance to settle in without visiting everyday. They need a chance to adapt. I would allow that to happen. After that, I would visit regularly and stay on top of the care she's getting. I would take note of her temperament, level of awareness, arms legs and feet, especially if they are diabetic. I also check out the bathroom for cleanliness as wells as her sheets. Maybe, I'm picky, but I inspect everything each visit to make sure it's the way it should be.

I make drop by visits when I'm not expected. I learn the names of every staff member I can and always call them by name and chat so they know me and who my loved one is. I tell them nice things about her, so they know the woman she used to be before her dementia and that her family loves her and will ensure she gets great care. I let them know I am deligent about her care and will be coming by at any time....in a nice way, of course.

I would check her clothes to ensure they are getting laundered and returned properly, keeping in mind that items get mixed up and lost. It happens at all places, so I don't make a big deal of it. If it's something important like a jacket, I'll report. Socks, I'll just replace. I keep an eye on her supplies to make sure she doesn't run out.

I ask her questions about how she's doing, what her favorite things are, about her friends, her activities, etc. I even join her for events sometimes and keep a calendar of events so I know what they are doing. I asked the social director about getting her a special visitor to come once per month. She added her to the list. A local church has volunteers that visit for free each week. I hug her a lot and brag about her to her friends at the facility. I send her cards, special gifts and encourage others to send her cards.

I also talk to the staff to see how's she doing in dealing with the staff, her medication, her blood sugar, blood pressure, how's she's eating. Discuss any health concerns and upcoming doctor visits. They normally transport and schedule. I attend all doctor appointments, but many don't. I regularly ask to see a list of her medication log so I can confirm what she's getting and when. I also ask to see the blood sugar and blood pressure log. I arrange to speak with the physical therapist to discuss her participation and progress. I speak with nutritionist to make sure she's aware of her diabetic status.

I would highly encourage you to keep a log and calendar and list every visit and any observations you think are of concern. I would send any comments of concern IN WRITING and keep a copy. Communication with staff can be shaky and often they forget what you have told them. Do it in writing and remind them. If you have a problem go to the director if you aren't satisfied. Remember there is a Ombudsman if you need them.

I review the menu too. During my visits I sit in the family room and just listen to what my loved one and the other residents have to say. You can learn about a place that way.

I'm sure there are many other things. I think the biggest thing I learned is that if a place is not working, relocate your loved one. If you are getting many calls, your loved one is having constant health issues and you feel that your loved one is not getting the attention or care she needs, find a place where she will get it. It's difficult to move someone, but if you find a better fit, DO IT. I did and my loved one is much happier now.
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