Posted May 18, 2009
  1. It is very important to involve the senior in the selection if possible. Obviously, if the senior has later stages of dementia this may not be possible.  Though I had an person who was diagnosed and she picked where she wanted to live while she could as she accepted the fact that later on someone else would have to make that decision for her.  It helped everyone and she eventually did move there.
  2. Go through some of the "what if's" and keep the end goal in mind. For example:  "What if you fall when you are home alone and you cannot get to the phone to call for help?  Wouldn't all of us have better peace of mind knowing you have 24 help available?
  3. Try to make sure everyone in the family is on the "same team".  If everyone knows what the plan of action is and the solution is, the easier this will be.  Not always possible, I know. 
  4. Do NOT schedule a move-in for the weekend; try to move during the week when the community if fully staffed.  Trust me, I have seen this first hand and it is never as smooth as a weekday move.  Take a day off, it will be worth it in the long run.  
  5. Choose a community that is a good match for the care needs & location.  This is where a service like mine can be very helpful.  On care, you don't want to choose a place that won't be able to service the seniors care needs next year if they increase.  And if the location is convenient for family, the senior will have more visitors.
  6. Try to pick a place that nurtures what is important to the senior.  Maybe daily on site religious services are the most important thing.  Or being able to bring their beloved pet.  Or possibly they really enjoy water aerobics and therefore a place with a pool would be key.
  7. Visit the community as much as possible before the move to meet residents and staff as well as try the food.  This helps take away some of the fear of "I'm not going to no anyone" or "I won't be able to find anything."
  8. Review the contract completely.  Be aware of what is included and what your out is should something happen.  It is also helpful to know the resident rights, and any rules.  For example if the rule is that you have to be dressed to go to breakfast and you know this before hand, it prevents mom going down to breakfast in her robe and slippers and being embarrassed.
  9. Create a pro's & con's list.  Pretty self explanatory.  My dad made me write one of these outs when I was choosing which college to attend.  If you have support and help, the pro's list should outweigh the con's list.
  10. Listen to the concerns and fears of the senior and address them.  Reassure them that just because they are making this choice, they are not losing control.

Have more tips, please visit my Senior Living Experts website!

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