Finding the Right Retirement Home in Longview and Vancouver

Today’s topic is going to be finding the right retirement home in Longview and Vancouver.  This is a real broad topic, so I’m going to give you an overview in this section. And then after you get an idea of how many different types of homes there are, if you want to hone in on one home versus another, there will be a video for each one of these types of homes.

I’ve been counseling families for over 20 years on when is it time to move mom or dad to a home, or is it just the regular progression of life? You get old to a point you stay at home, where you can’t be self-sufficient, and then you go to a home, or sometimes you go, in the past, to the nursing homes. Well, as I discuss this with families, it’s a very personal decision, and the senior has to be involved with that decision. I know sometimes adult children want to take control and say, “This is best for you, mom, or dad,” but you’re going to only have problems if you don’t get the senior involved, and that’s basically their right.

So what I usually do is sit down with the entire family, or at least the family members involved with the decision, and say, “What’s going on in the home now where you think mom or dad should move?” And usually it’s people’s insecurity that mom or dad is not safe to be at home alone. So I usually look at what can you do to bring services to the home, if that’s an option.

For instance, you can have medical alert systems, you could have a housekeeper, or you could have caregivers come to the home, and I always say, “Try the least expensive, least disruptive option first, if that is possible.” If there’s been a major change, like a broken hip or a death of a spouse, and the other spouse does not want to be in the house anymore, it’s too overwhelming, it’s too large of a home, that’s the time to look. But if the senior doesn’t want to move, and the kids want them to move, I always like to negotiate, “Can we compromise here?”

So you could try, or you could even within the family, say, “Let’s try this out for three months, see if it works,” and then it gives everyone an out. If it doesn’t work, then you try Plan B, or Plan C. What you don’t want to do, and I’ve seen this happen in some families, is that you move an elderly senior from one place to another, because it wasn’t the right home to begin with. That could be very traumatic. When you look at what causes stress, moving, death, serious health issues are right up there on the stress scale. No one likes to move, no matter what your age, and when you’re dealing with a houseful of memories, it could be heartbreaking if it’s not done properly.

So let’s look at some of the options. Let’s say the decision is made that 24-hour care is needed. They try the caregiver, let’s say the senior doesn’t want someone in the home, or even if they switch off caregivers to see if there’s a better personality match, if it doesn’t work, here’s what your options are. I’m going to see how this works writing on the board, because when I give my workshops, some people are visual learners, some people are auditory learners, so let’s see what this looks like.

Usually, instead of what is the immediate need right now, you also have to look down the road about five years. So if you’re moving your parent from their home to, let’s say, downsizing to a condo or to an apartment so they’re better able to maintain their belongings, and they don’t have to worry about a yard, you can do that, but what are their needs going to be five years down the road? Once again, you could downsize them, or they could downsize themselves, and we could bring help into the apartment or the condo.

So you could look at home adjustments, and that could be anything from medical alert systems, maybe you need to put a special bathroom in, or other adaptive equipment, like handrails. The other would be assisted living, or actually there’s what is called a retirement home or retirement communities. And there can be those that are just an apartment building with maybe congregate meals, where people could sit down together and have other meals together, sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s three meals a day. Then there’s assisted living, and assisted living is where there is usually an RN on board, so that if you have any medication issues or medical concerns, there is somebody there that can address that. Then there are specialty homes and adult family homes, (?) homes, and, let’s say, dementia homes, or memory care.

So, as you could see, there’s a lot to choose from, and it could be absolutely overwhelming to the senior and the family, especially if the senior is not feeling well. If there’s been an injury or illness, they’re not on their best terms anyhow in trying to comprehend what’s happening, making major decisions that will affect them for the rest of their life. So you need, sometimes, a coach. That’s what Elder Options does. We have a whole home placement section that helps families look at what would be best for their loved one, because, once again, you don’t want to say, “Oops, I made a mistake. Oh, they need to go here. Nope, I’m going to move them back.” That’s very expensive and very disruptive.

So for further information on these housing options, take a look, and we’ll have one developed for each one of these choices. Thank you for tuning in today.