As adults approach their senior years many aspects of life (physical, social, and financial) are changing. For most seniors, the retirement years are anticipated positively and with an expectation of more leisure time and a lessening of demands and responsibilities. Neither seniors nor their families are adequately prepared for the stresses that also accompany aging. One of the major stresses is moving or placement in an assisted living community. Health and safety issues may necessitate a move from a place that was home for many years. There is then a loss of the familiar, of neighbors, of possessions, of a place of worship, and so on. Transitions and losses associated with moving can echo and intensify earlier losses of friends and family through death or through their also moving away.
The primary decisions for seniors are where they will live and how they will spend their free time. For most seniors their preference is to stay in their homes, independently throughout life. Some are fortunate in this regard but for others, they may reach a point where health and safety factors indicate that independent living is no longer possible. Except in cases of acute or sudden onset of a situation, there is usually a gradual increase in signs that an alternate arrangement is needed. Families who wait too long to solve the problems may not use all possible resources and may not involve the senior parent enough. To the extent that families plan long range, explore options and work collaboratively, the transition will work better. To the extent that a rapid emergency decision is made with little choice and input from the elderly, adjustment will be affected. The result may be feelings of unhappiness, loss, abandonment and being misunderstood.
Any change, be it arranging for help in the home or moving to a facility, is best done with the senior parent evaluating, and expressing their feelings, preferences and comfort level. There is a "goodness of fit" between a person and a place. All places tell you how fine they are and all the amenities they provide. In fact, facilities vary widely in their ambiance and the specific services that they offer. The lack of opportunity to have input can result in the feeling of being "placed" or "put." This combines with feelings of abandonment and is a factor contributing to depression. When we developed this service we had the understanding that family members are busy and overwhelmed. The mission of Palm Beach Senior placement service is to provide the highest level of assessments and placement choices to address the needs of each senior placed accurately and efficiently, and to minimize the burden on the family members in making the choice of an assisted living for their loved ones. I had the full understanding that a successful placement has to be done with the focus on communication between the parents, adult children and our placement specialist. Sharing information with the senior parent is as important as finding the perfect facility that matches his or her needs and their family wishes. Our philosophy in Palm Beach Senior Placement is to empower our seniors by giving them the opportunity to make choices and have input in selecting their placement.
Senior citizens possess a wealth of information. They have lived a long time and learned a lot. They need to be appreciated for that fact that what they think and say has value. Family members need to listen to the concerns and ideas of their loved one. Their transition issues are real, their observations valid and not just complaints. If family members minimize, ignore or deny what their loved one says, (i.e. "It’s beautiful here. There’s so much to do. How could you not like it?"), the loved one will feel more isolated, misunderstood and unsupported. Our placement specialist and managing partner of Palm Beach Senior Placement emphasizes on the importance of following up with our clients after being placed.
Some people spend weeks or months making phone calls, taking time off work, and driving around to tour dozens of sites—all the while handling their normal daily duties. Overstressed, overtired, and frustrated, they sometimes make a decision simply to be done with the whole process and end up dissatisfied with their choice.
Assess your loved one’s care needs (present and future) to avoid having to move your senior family member a second time as their situation changes
Alzheimer's & Dementia Care Facilities can be either small (4-6 beds) or large (100+ beds) facilities specifically designed to meet the challenges that arise in caring for a loved one affected with Alzheimer's or Dementia. Some of these facilities can also offer secured perimeters for those patients who tend to wander.