Selecting an assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one is an important decision. While it is rare to find a facility that specifically caters to people with Parkinson's disease (PD), there are many questions you can ask and things to look for to help you carefully weigh your options in order to find the best fit possible.
Assisted living facilities provide help with day- to-day activities while striving to promote independence and provide opportunities to socialize with peers.
Is Assisted Living Right for You or Your Loved One?
Although you may find some exceptions, assisted living facilities normally offer these services:
• Assistance with daily living activities (getting in and out of bed, bathing, getting dressed, grooming, etc.)
• Housekeeping and laundry
• Daily meals in a group dining setting
• Medication reminders or administration • Bathroom assistance
• Health and exercise programs
• Social and recreational activities
Note: Medicare does not pay for room and board and personal care costs at assisted living facilities. In most states, Medicaid does not pay for these costs either. This means that most people need to use their personal income, assets and savings, Veterans benefits or long- term care insurance for an assisted living.
Reasons To Consider Assisted Living
• Person with Parkinson's prefers to live in assisted living.
• Primary care partner is unable to provide necessary care due to employment conflicts. • Skilled nursing (which provides access to 24-hour care from nurses and certified nursing assistants) is not necessary at this time.
• Household environment is not suitable (space, physical layout, young children).
Finding An Assisted Living Facility
If you or your loved one is considering a move to assisted living, ask your doctors about good facilities in the area. Gather recommendations for assisted living options from friends and family, local support/exercise groups and community organizations serving people with PD. You may also consider reading the online reviews of local assisted living facilities and visiting their website.
A Paying for Senior Care article titled, “Assessing Assisted Living Quality: Consumer Reviews, Ratings & Complaints,” offers useful tips for how to interpret assisted living facility reviews visit PayingForSeniorCare.com. If you are looking for assisted living facilities in your state that accept Medicaid, call your local Area Agency on Aging: ElderCare.acl.gov.
Once you have a list of assisted living facilities, plan to visit them for a tour and to gather information about their services, resources and costs. It is often helpful to take a family member, friend or Aging Life Care Expert with you to help assess the services and environment. Find an Aging Life Care Expert in your area at AgingLifeCare.org.
The Benefits of Planning Ahead
Even if you are only considering assisted living and do not expect to move in soon, it is a good idea to visit a few facilities before a sudden change in care requirements necessitates a move. Starting early will allow you time to get to know the assisted living facilities in your area.
Questions to Ask a Potential Assisted Living Facility
Refer to the questions on the following pages for guidance. Try to make a second, unannounced visit in the evening or on a weekend. You may learn additional information that adds to your overall opinion of the facility.
For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Best Practices & Guidance: Navigating Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Facilities.”