Few people know that nursing homes are just one of several senior living options. There are choices to suit every stage of life, from help with small things—mowing the lawn, moving furniture—to the in-depth medical care nursing homes can provide. The spectrum of senior living options is usually divided into the following four categories:
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Enhanced Assisted Living
- Skilled Nursing
One way to help your loved one determine the right kind of care is to consider not only what they need right now, but also what they are likely to need in the near future. For example, a hip surgery will likely require only temporary rehabilitation, but an illness like Alzheimer’s requires ongoing care. You can avoid the added stress of multiple moves by thinking ahead, and by providing as much information as possible to the medical professionals who will help your loved one gain admission into a senior living facility.
Keeping a Journal
One of the best ways to establish which kind of care your loved one might need is to start keeping track of any concerns in a journal. You could use a physical journal, the Notes app on your phone, or even a shared, cloud-based document like a Google Doc. The goal is to make notes that you can refer to later. Write down anything that you
notice, including the date. Examples might include: “Dad hasn’t paid his bills this month,” “Mom is having trouble getting dressed,” or “Dad left the stove on.”
Tracking things this way will give you an extensive list of the specific issues your loved one is facing. Each of the four senior care options offers a different mix of medical and non-medical assistance. Being able to describe exactly what your loved one needs will ensure they get the right kind of care.
Working with Medical Professionals
The journal will be an incredibly helpful tool as you work with a medical team, and saves you the trouble of needing to recall everything you’ve noticed. Instead of relying on your memory, you can rely on the journal to remember all the details for you. Another upside is that you can use the journal to communicate sensitive topics without upsetting your loved one during a consultation. Incontinence, for example, can be embarrassing, but should certainly be accounted for.
One important tip as you work through the different discussions and meetings with medical professionals: ask them if there are any common questions you haven’t asked. They are an expert in their field, and likely have similar conversations almost every day. They are there to help you and should be more than happy to make sure your discussions touch on all the essentials.
The Patient Review Instrument
When you sit down with a doctor or other medical professional, you can expect to discuss the Patient Review Instrument or PRI. The PRI is the assessment that provides a “snapshot of care” for your loved one. It covers activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, and dressing; any medications or diagnoses your loved one may have, and other categories pertaining to their care. The PRI is used to create a score that corresponds with specific levels of care, and is required for admission into a skilled nursing home like The Maplewood. You can read more about the PRI on the NY Connects website.
Finding the Right Care for Your Loved One
With a journal to keep track of needs, help from medical professionals, and a doctor’s assessment, your loved one is sure to receive the care they need. The senior care system provides different types of care for different stages of life. Whatever it is that your loved one needs, you can be sure that there is a solution that will keep them healthy and comfortable. Whether they need help cooking, taking medicines, or just a quick rehabilitation, the senior living continuum has the solution.
We Can Help
If you have any questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to give us a call—we are more than happy to help. You can reach us at (585) 872-1800 ext. 4010. We have years of experience working with families and their loved ones and it would be our pleasure to help you find the answers you need.