What to Expect When a Loved One Moves to Assisted Living or Memory Support
It is a journey when a loved one moves into an assisted living or memory support community. By learning what to expect ahead of time, you can help to ease this transition and find the right community for your loved one to thrive. In case you missed our speaker, Cheryl Clark, BSN, RN, last week, you can review the highlights here.
Choosing a Community: Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) are licensed to provide skilled nursing services according to Medicare requirements following a qualified hospitalization. The stays can be short term, such as when a loved one receives skilled therapy services after an elective surgery. Short term stays are covered in full or part by Medicare depending on the length of stay. The stays in a SNF can also be long term, for a loved one who needs around the clock nursing care.
Assisted Living Communities are a senior living option that provides support and care assistance for residents. Assisted Living communities provide assistance to residence that may include medication management, transportation, assistance with activities of daily living- bathing, dressing, grooming, eating- and specialized care.
There are a few types of assisted living communities and you want to ensure that your loved one moves into the community that is the best fit for them. A Type A assisted living community is for residents who are able to evacuate the community without physical assistance, do not need attendance overnight, and can follow directions in the event of an emergency. A Type B assisted living community houses residents who need an extra hand. Type B community residents may need staff assistance in the event of an emergency, may need help transferring from their bed to a wheelchair, and may receive different levels of care depending on their needs.
A Memory Support community may also be referred to as a Secured Assisted Living Facility or a Certified Alzheimer’s Assisted Living Facility. A Certified Alzheimer’s Assisted Living Facility is a large community with 17 plus residents. The community must meet specific staffing and training requirements related to Alzheimer’s and dementia. A professional Lifestyle Director dedicates at least 20 hours per week toward enriching the lives of each resident, individually and as a group.
Tips for a Successful Transition
- Understand the cognitive level of your loved one: What kind of community fits their cognitive level best? Do they need extra encouragement to make the move to a community?
- Empower the resident to help make decisions
- Choose meaningful décor and belongings for the resident’s home
- Move belongings and set up their room prior to the resident’s move in day
- Have the room set up to look inviting when your loved one arrives
- On move in day, reinforce the resident’s empowerment
- Choose an attending physician. Does the community have a physician they recommend? Is your loved one’s physician willing to follow them after their move?
- Admission Orders are needed from your loved one’s physician
- History & Physical
- Choose a Pharmacy. Again, the community may recommend one or allow you to use your own pharmacy
- Medication Administration by staff
- Medication administered per physician orders 24/7
- Community staff order medication and contact physician as needed
- Medications delivered to resident’s nurses’ station
- Medication Administration by self
- Resident must understand the use of each medication
- Resident must know when to take each medication
- Resident must keep the medication secured
- Resident is capable of ordering and obtaining their own medication