So Mom Needs to move into a Facility:
Where to begin
What are her needs? How do I know it’s a ‘good’ place? Will they abuse her?or neglect her? The person to help answer those questions and more is a senior referral agent, or a placement consultant – they are one in the same. Much like a Realtor is for homes, a placement agent will meet with you and help you to identify the right kind of environment and setting for mom. Most of the time it is a free service to the family.
Things to consider
There are many things to consider in an appropriate community, and measures of these indicators should be based on how she spent the majority of her lifetime, not necessarily the past year or so as her abilities have become more impaired or obstructed by physical challenges. Senior communities are built and developed to accommodate the physical barriers.
• Level of physical activity
• Social desires (involved in groups such as cards, quilting, crafts, gardening)
• Civic involvement (chamber of commerce, PTA, career/industry associations)
• Food – does she like to have options, or does she have any severe allergies.
How do we know if it is a “good” place?
Knowing if it is a “good’ place takes time and experience – that is where the placement agent can help the most. Like in any business, not all agents are created equally. It is important to find someone familiar with the communities from doing first hand visits, are checking the licensing history and public disclosure files for the facility’s history of care quality. The agent should meet with you in person to get to know your mom’s needs, social, physical and economic, prior to suggesting to visit any facility. The Oregon Senior Referral Agency Association (www.osraa.com) has members that agree to abide by this code of ethics and best practices. Many states have similar associations.
Jennifer Cook, Owner, Living Right Senior Placement