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We just spent a lot of my dad's money to get him into an upscale memory care residence. He's been there a week. Now that they have the large deposit and are getting quite a hefty monthly income, I notice the care team is not so quick to respond to my emailed questions. But I tend to be fast-moving and somewhat impatient. The move-in was very quick and frenzied after a prior 6 months of chaos with dad's quickly changing needs and 2 hospitalizations. Sign up, initial questions and move-in were done in person. Now that the crisis is over and I can breathe, I can think of questions I didn't ask. They seem to prefer email since they provided a long list of the staff's email addresses. What do you think is a reasonable amount of time for a response about aspects of Dad's care?



I can certainly call them, but I am curious what you have experienced.

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Thanks everyone for sharing your experience. It's helpful for me to know how things go for different people. Since posting this, I straight out asked the general manager with a cc to the move-in manager what I should expect in terms of response times to my emails. They said 24 hours.

It was clear they forwarded this to the care director, who then responded immediately to my two emails that had piled up.

Hoping to get to know staff better now that Dad is settled. I will visit once a week. I know everyone works hard and I want to be able to appreciate them in the way described by one of you. And for 12.7k per month, even though they are busy and short staffed, I have become pretty no nonsense like lealonnie. 😁 I do fret about making a nuisance of myself (in life in general), but there have been questions about how they operate, since admittance was very hasty.

A funny example: dad tells me all they serve is coleslaw. I know that's not true ... but I want to find out what they ARE serving him. If they tell a visiting family member there was an act of aggression but they don't let me - the health POA and first contact - know just what happened, I'll be asking and expecting an answer pretty quickly.

DON'T MESS WITH US MIDDLE AGED WOMEN 😆
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Msblcb Jan 13, 2023
I actually ended up visiting every day due to the food. My mom could not chew very well and I requested soft foods. For the first few weeks, the dining room did not get that info and continue to serve things she simply could not chew, If I had not watched, she would not have eaten. It is hard to know, with dementia, what the truth is. Mom would tell me things and I never knew if they were accurate. The menu issue was correct.
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Kablooie, I remember back when my Dad moved into senior living. Any email I would send I didn't expect to get an immediate reply because I know how busy it can be in a senior facility. Eventually I would get an answer that covered my question. Otherwise, I could request a meeting with the Staff if I have any concerns.

I noticed in today's world with cellphones, more people have become impatient because they want an immediate reply. I had to give up doing texts with my grandkids because they would go into panic if I didn't answer a text within a couple of minutes. I am surprised they didn't call the police for a welfare-check.
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This has been discussed here before, assisted livings are a industry that was created to take advantage financially of seniors by charging exorbitant prices for “assistance” which in large part isn’t there ( for example if your loved one needs assistance in the shower many of them charge additional fee on top of the already astronomical fee for them to be in ASSISTED living!) you seem to have made the connection with how their interest in responding to you slowed down significantly since they received the first payment. What I would expect for the sum of money for the sole purpose of my loved one to live in assisted living is for them to be personable and show a one to one interest and concern in your questions or concerns - not directing you to send email- if you prefer to primarily communicate thru email is fine but if they’re directing you to email and discouraging personable communication I would not feel confident w my loved one being there. How can I when their primary interest at that point seems to be my loved ones finances ? The very thing people rail against often times innocent people for doing - I’ve seen so many posts about how people want to pay caregivers a very low wage and if they ask for a living wage become upset at the caregiver as if they’re doing something wrong— yet will turn around and hand over their parents bank account to a facility that shows minimal interest IN their loved one. This is addrsssing in a general sense the topic of how society undervalues caregivers or relatives caring for a senior but is glad to lower their expectations drastically for what they pay ten times more for. Again I would have high expectations and standards for a facility that’s charging such exorbitant fees literally to care for my loved one- if they can’t bother to communicate other than mainly email I would be looking at other options such as a dedicated caregiver or small residential home that is not all about the money.
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Invisible0ne Jan 24, 2023
Here in So Cal it’s $12k to $15k a month for a decent Nursing Facility. And that’s for hardly 2.5 hours of applicable care. They refuse to acknowledge dietary restrictions because that costs more - cutting corners at every turn… doing just enough to not get shut down by regulators.
You are so very correct- the primary goal of these facilities is to drain families of their savings & assets, not to care for & support patients.
I would prefer to end my life before allowing these facilities to confiscate a lifetime of hard earned savings under the guise of medical care. That’s probably exactly what they want - all us working/middle class slops to either die or hand over everything our families earned. It’s a sick game that know no shame.
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Seems to me you should request a care conference with the administrator, so you can have a calmer conversation. Once you get your questions asked, you can follow up with emails, but request a face-to-face so they can explain to you how things work there.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Kablooie Jan 11, 2023
That's a possible next step for sure. But my question is, what have others experienced?

I personally think an acknowledgement of an email within 1-2 business days is reasonable. But again, wondering how it has been for others, and what do they feel is reasonable?
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It depends; if I emailed the Executive Director of the Memory Care, I'd normally get a response w/i a day or two max. Unless she was on vacation, then I'd get an email saying "I'm out on vacation until X date."

If I emailed the person I was supposed to email (and I forget her title tbh), I was lucky to get a response w/i a week. Then I'd get POed and email the Executive Director and/or call and leave a voice mail. I'm like you, nobody to fool around with b/c I am impatient and a no-nonsense human.

Mom lived at this AL for 4 years, then segued into their MC bldg and lived there for nearly 3 years. The entire staff knew me and they knew both of my parents well. They also knew my personality and not to aggravate me TOO badly or I'd be seriously irritated and unhappy as a result. Which is not a bad thing for the staff of YOUR dad's MC to know. Which is not to suggest you should be a loud/obnoxious/crass daughter or son; just that you should make it known you're a NO NONSENSE HUMAN who expects to be dealt with PROFESSIONALLY b/c that's part of what your dad is paying an ASTRONOMICAL MONTHLY FEE FOR.

Conversely, I was very appreciative (and made my appreciation known to the staff) for all their kindnesses and how well they did care for mom *and my parents beforehand* I gave gifts and tips at Christmastime and always spent time getting to know the staff, etc. That's also part of the process in managed care; the POA/daughter/son has to be kind and firm at the same time, which creates an atmosphere where the staff WANTS to be helpful.

Best of luck to you!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I would ask for appointment … to hash out your questions .
when there’s an email I would think
a day or two is reasonable for them get back … but you know best is
to visit often … that’s when you see what’s going on … have questions answered and most of all they’re more accountable when there’s an involved family member.
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Not sure how many residents are in the facility your Dad is in, but I look at things in the big picture. What is all the residents' families expected quick responses to frequent questions and requests. Any you mention family members going to visit, so they already address questions and issues with those members, so figure you are getting the updates. My Dad is in an ALF with memory patients mixed in with the population. About 40 full time residents and 6-8 respite. I visit at least 3 times a week. My siblings also visit, so Dad has one of us going there at least 5 days a week. We also pay for over night private caretakers as he is a fall risk. We realized fairly quickly that no matter how caring the staff was, there is no way one resident can have constant care and he was a nighttime fall risk. But we have a Sibling Text group and whenever anything of importance comes up on a visit we all share that info so multiple family members aren't asking the same questions. When I have a number of more serious concerns, I set a time to meet with the director and have a list ready with questions. There is no facility that is perfect. Dementia is a terrible disease, one you know ahead of time will only get worse. So our goal is to just make sure Dad is safe and taken care of and happy in his way.
The facility has the daily menu posted on a wall near the dining room. Frequent visits help you get an idea of what he is eating. The caretakers also work in the dining room so they know which resident needs to have his/her food cut up for them. I also know which caretakers are more knowledgeable on things and take time to stop and visit with them, and then ask about his days (showers, eating, bathroom accidents....) Some are always eager to talk. Especially if you bring the group treats from time to time.
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I also tended to email early in my mom’s care or spoke, to the right person, while visiting. Responses were not always timely. They were always busy. However, I noticed, random conversations seemed to be unsustainable in terms of her care. Things would get better but would not remain sufficient. In my case, the ALF changed owners so I was stuck in the middle of many merger changes. I ended up writing a document and had a personal meeting with the head nurse/care manager. I expressed what was going well and what I noticed needed attention. I dated it and we spoke about appropriate expectations. This seemed to be more effective in my case.

It also gave both of us a record of the care so that when formal care reviews were done, they were efficient. I did use white dry erase boards inside the room to communicate thank you notes, suggestions on menu’s and other topics that were related to ADL’s. The staff seemed to like that.

Since I did transition my mom in the middle of a merger, I faced staff changes mid stream. I kept the notes from each meeting and shared them with new staff.

I did learn what to address to whom. It helped to learn what each person was responsible for so I did not waste my time or theirs. The change in ownership certainly added more frustration than most would face in a transition.

I wish you all the best with this transition.
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Reply to Msblcb
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K,

I think MJ has the best solution. Schedule a meeting.

Write any important questions down before hand.

The meetings I had with staff when my mom was in a facility for rehab were timed.

As FF pointed out, the staff is going to be very busy. They may not have a lot of time to discuss things leisurely.

Others should see your question and help also.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I think this is an excellent question for the administration at the facility, as each differs from another. What we may have experienced will be different than from your facility. I don't know how busy they are, how much they are having to "triage" things in terms of crisis response or otherwise, or how they work to divide out responses to differing areas responsible for the "type of questions" you are asking. For instance, asking about diet is different from asking about billing is different from asking about the MC itself, its staffing and care levels, is different from asking about your Dad as an individual patient. Say you ask about the latter, the admin must forward questions to the MC cottages, await response, or ask THEM to respond and then you are down to "them".
Answer I guess is "it all depends".
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