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What Mom or Dad Should Expect from an Assisted Living Facility

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Staff take notice of those residents who have family looking in on them, so visit your parent often. Be sure to vary the time of day you visit so that you get to know different staff. if you live out of town, develop a relationship with the staff and call every week. Be sure to let the staff know how much you appreciate them.

Assisted living facilities do vary in what they offer, but here's the least they should offer:

  • Three nutritious meals a day
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Minimal amount of supervision (checking in on your parent every day to make sure that he or she is okay)
  • Some social-recreational activities
  • A pleasant, private, clean, furnished room
  • A safe environment
  • Handicapped-equipped bathroom facilities
  • Twenty-four-hour staff on the premises

Many facilities also offer other services and usually charge for them. Here's some of the things that you may want to arrange for your parents:

  • Assistance with daily medications. Only a registered nurse who is certified to “pass meds” can actually administer medications to your parent. However, an aide could remind your parent to take his or her medications, and place it out for him or her, but your parent has to take the medication without assistance. You could also request an aide to place your parents' medications in a daily or weekly dispenser.
  • Assistance with bathing. Nurse's aides have the training to assist your parent with a shower. Make sure that the shower and bathroom facilities have safety bars, a chair for sitting in the shower, no-skid floors, and a call button for help.
  • Assistance with other daily living tasks. Depending upon your parents' needs and the level of care the personal care home provides, the staff at the facility may also provide partial assistance with dressing, walking, bathing, using the toilet, and eating. (Please note the word partial. These facilities are not for people who are totally dependent in these services.) You should also ask if the staff is able to bring meals to your parent's room if Mom or Dad isn't feeling well enough to go to the common dining room.
  • Transportation. Most facilities provide some type of transportation service to various common sites in the area such as shopping malls, senior centers, and doctor's offices.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Caring for Aging Parents © 2001 by Linda Colvin Rhodes, Ed.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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