Assisted living: how to address care concerns with the community?
The decision to move your senior parent into an assisted living community is never an easy decision to make. You want the best for your aging loved one, you want them to be safe, comfortable, and well taken care of, and you want them to live in a secure environment where they can continue to thrive.
Elderly parents can be notoriously resistant to change, especially when it comes time to consider moving into a senior living community. While any big life transition comes with a few bumps in the road, there are ways you can support your parent and work with them to positively address any care concerns. Here’s how.
Understand that settling in requires patience
Your parent probably has a routine they’ve adhered to for many years. We all have daily routines that give us a sense of structure, and when our routines get disrupted it can be irritating. For example, if they like to have dinner at 7pm but you learn that the dining hall serves dinner earlier, speak with the staff and ask if they can accommodate your parent’s preference. Many modern assisted living communities are very flexible and don’t adhere to rigid schedules anymore, so they’ll be happy to accommodate your loved one’s preferences.
Ask open-ended questions instead of just complaining
Let’s say your parent has shared with you that they don’t like some of the meals they’ve been served. Instead of complaining to the staff, a more constructive approach is to ask some questions, including: Are there any alternative meal options available? Can we please know what the choices are?
Working together to find a solution is usually the best way forward, and open-ended questions give both parties the chance to explore the best choices for them.
Document all issues
Keep a written log of any concerns or complaints your loved one shares with you, and get as many details as possible. When you share your concerns with the staff, using the written log will help you discern if there are any patterns, for example if it’s a specific time of day, or if the concerns are a once-off.
Give immediate feedback
Some people don’t report an issue or a concern right away because they don’t want to overreact, or they decide to wait and see if it happens again, but we encourage you to report any issues or concerns immediately. The assisted living community staff will appreciate knowing that their residents feel comfortable enough to come to them with their concerns, and they’ll do what they can to remedy the issues.
Get to know all the staff
When your elderly parent moves into a senior living community, take the time to introduce yourself to the administrators, the nurses, the security guards, and everyone else your loved one will have contact with on a regular basis. Building a network of community members is extremely important and will help you know the right person to speak with if an issue arises.
Helping your senior loved one transition into an assisted living community will undoubtedly come with some bumps in the road, but more often than not you’ll find that the staff are happy and willing to work with you to ensure your parent has everything they need and that all of their concerns are addressed.