Family Involvement in the Decision-Making Process of Moving into a Retirement Home - Part 1
Updated: Aug 24
Over the years, we've conducted tours for possible new resident admissions at our Retirement Home ope. And we've learned a few key things, a few key trends that might be useful and helpful to those families considering a parent's possible move into a retirement residence.
The biggest observation we have made is the plain and simple truth that in most cases, it is the son or daughter that begins the "search" for a retirement home on behalf of their parent. This is a great idea, especially if the parent is not as well versed in using the internet, google search, etc. The "child" then calls or emails the potential retirement homes for some information as a starting point. And in the world of COVID-19, much of this information will be gathered either virtually or by way of a telephone call.
Here is the first tip:
prepare a list of questions to ask the retirement home.
Some questions you should ask are:
what is included in the "basic monthly rate?"
This question is important, because in our experience many callers will quickly ask "what is the monthly rate" early in the call, and they might be misled in thinking that the lowest rate, if affordability is an issue, is the Home that should be first considered. The reason I point this out is due to the fact that Retirement Homes offer different things - services and care - and some include this in their basic monthly rate, and others do not and add these on as an Extra Service with fees attached. So what you might think is a less-expensive option to get your mom or dad into a retirement home may be the highest rate when you add fees for all sorts of services like laundry, bathing, medication assistance and any Personal Care.
From this, the next natural question is:
what "Extra Care and Services" does your Retirement Home offer and what are the costs?
Take good notes of these things, or better still have them emailed to you.
Retirement Residence #1 has a basic monthly rate of $2,500 for a Studio suite (this is about the average in Ontario, by the way). They charge for Extra Services and Care of $100 monthly for assisting with Bathing, $250 for assisting or managing medications and $150 for weekly laundry services. Now the "true" total monthly rate is $3,000.
Retirement Home #2 has a basic monthly rate of $2,800 for a Studio suite, and it includes quite a bit of Care and Services, such as assisting with Bathing, assisting or managing medications and weekly laundry services.
Additional questions that you should ask could be:
In the event that my mom or dad has a Fall or need for immediate Personal care Support, what measures does your retirement home offer to this level of support?
At the very least, you are seeking a response that includes:
we are staffed by a team of trained and educated PSW Personal Support Workers and the Care Team is managed by a Registered Nurse;
we are staffed around the clock, 24 hours a day by at least one member of the Care Team;
we have an emergency call system (nurse call system) for immediate alert and response to an emergency.
In addition, ideally, the Home should have a disciplined program to check in on residents on regular intervals and chart this.
The next key point we will offer to you involves getting your parent involved in the decision-making process early on. Oh boy, this is a biggeee. How often the child spends so much time doing great research, spends quite a bit of time gathering information, telephone calls and possibly even touring the retirement home, and in the end...the parent wasn't psychological or emotionally prepared for the move.
The number one piece of advice on this aspect is to simply have the parent involved in this process early on. Well before you begin the research stage, these discussions should be ongoing. In most cases, this is a process that will take several weeks or months to "mentally prepare" the parent for the change. Plant the seed as they say. In many ways. Ongoing. Often. Every time there is an opportunity, bring up the idea. We suggest you do it in a way that best meets your parents ways - you know them best, so you'll have to decide on this.
At the Tower of Port Hope Retirement Residence and Assisted living, we have a full-time Life Enrichment Aide. The main role and responsibility of this employee is the social, psychological and emotional well-being and health of the resident. We have interviewed her for some greater insight into the Psyche of the resident to be able to offer to you some further guidance on how to encourage your parent to take the next steps in considering a move to a retirement home.
Unfortunately, most often we receive the calls from family months after the initial calls and discussions and now, we are being called upon to act quickly to help because my mom or dad is in hospital after a fall and they need a retirement home to help them recover.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this discussion where we promise to continue to provide informative insight with the attempt on helping you assist your parent in the decision-making process of a move into a retirement home.
Take care and stay safe.
The Team at The Tower of Port Hope Retirement Residence