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When Selecting a Senior Living Community for a Loved One, Please Take into Consideration Future Memory Issues

About one-half of the clients who engage me for my services do so after they have already selected a community for a loved one. Then, when a problem arises, they call me to help fix the problem. Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball and can anticipate some of the unusual circumstances that can arise. Most of the time, clients are so pre-occupied with fixing the senior living problem that exists now, they do not consider what can happen in the future. Clearly no one is to blame, as it is always what we do not anticipate that causes a problem.

Real-Life Story

My clients were the children of a senior aged 78. She had been placed at a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that offered Independent Living, Assisted living, Assisted living with a memory care unit, and Skilled Nursing care. She had a lovely apartment in the independent living area that required an entrance fee of more than $200,000 when she moved in.

After living there for several years, the senior had a fall that required her move to the nursing home while she completed her rehabilitation. When the rehab was completed, she was told that she could move to assisted living. The family was told that if she reached the goal of completing the activities of daily living of dressing and toileting on her own, that she could move to the regular assisted living area of the CCRC. Because the senior exhibited some signs of memory loss, and the potential for needing some physical care in the future, an assessment was completed and a recommendation was made to move her to the assisted living memory care unit, which is secured for wanderers. The memory area had an assistant to resident ratio of about 1 to 7. The regular assisted living area had a ratio of about 1 assistant to 20 residents.

“What’s wrong with that recommendation?” you might ask. Well, for one thing, the residents in the memory unit were much worse off from a mental standpoint than this particular resident. The resident’s daughters and I feared that their mom’s exposure to people who were less lucid would contribute to her own mental decline.

Arrangements were made to have my clients’ mother physically taken to attend the regular assisted living activities. I also requested that she be allowed to have her daily meals in the assisted living area so she could have some regular conversation. While that request was granted initially, it has since been declined.

My point about anticipating future issues that can arise is this: Many of the communities in our region offer memory care at varying levels. Some have apartments for residents who are ambulatory and have early signs of memory loss. And the activities are highly structured. Some offer a level in-between regular assisted living and memory care (in a secured unit) for higher functioning residents with structured day care types of activities. The problem is that not all of the long term care communities in our region offer all of these levels yet. This instance is one of them. The availability of this kind of sophisticated care is something you may want to consider for your loved one’s future when selecting the right community for him or her.

An even bigger consideration is that the entrance fee of $200,000-plus in this story is not refundable until the resident “moves out” and the apartment is re-occupied by another resident. Thus, a move to another community may not be realistic.

This story has not ended, but I have yet to face a situation where I have not been able to find a solution that keeps everyone happy. There is just more “thinking outside of the box” that needs to be done, and that’s what ADSLA is here for..

Do you need a second opinion? Let Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors help. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.

Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors
1497 Shire Circle
Inverness, IL 60067
Phone: 847.934.5303
Cell: 708.415.2934