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Finding a Place

I bought a house the other day. It was so easy! I found this service online that promised to find the best house for me. They seemed to know all about the houses around my town, so I just went with the house they recommended.

Just kidding! I would never turn over that kind of decision to an internet service…

…except when it comes to my parents. There are internet services out there that know all about senior care options and they’ll do all the legwork for me. They’ll find a place for my parents, since they know my parents so well and can easily tell what’s best for them.

Just kidding again! In reality, there’s no shortcut to finding the best care for our parents. Just like we’d never leave a big decision like the purchase of a home up to an online service, we’ve got to be very careful when using online services to help with personal care decisions for our parents. There just isn’t a substitute for doing your own investigative homework, but don’t get overwhelmed yet! Here’s how to get started:

1) Educate yourself about senior care options. In our state there are three basic residential care options. They are: medical facilities called nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, residential facilities called “assisted living” that offer assistance with daily needs like meals, housekeeping and personal care, and senior housing apartments which are age restricted and often government subsidized but do not offer assistance with personal care.

2) Find out what is around you. Do a Google search or use the phone book to get a listing of senior homes in your area. There’s nothing wrong with online senior housing location services, but use them with the knowledge that the homes they recommend are paying them for the referrals. Ask friends, neighbors and coworkers where they’ve had good experiences when caring for their loved ones.

3) Get out and take a look in person. Your own eyes and “gut feelings” will be your best tools for telling whether a place is a good fit for your parent. Personal visits are perhaps the most time consuming part of the care decision process, but they are necessary. Online senior housing services haven’t necessarily paid personal visits to the homes they list, but even if they had, you want to see for yourself when it comes to a place your mother or father would be living every day.

It’s not easy to determine or accept that a parent needs extra help, but finding that help doesn’t have to be so difficult. Once you know your options and set aside a little time to investigate them, you can make a plan that suits you and your parents. With a little effort, you can find maximum quality of life for your parents and peace of mind for you… absolutely no kidding!

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