Have you noticed that many of us may only pay attention to something when it piques our interest OR when we are dealing with the specific topic it is addressing. I have noticed this is the case for many when dealing with elder care concerns; and at the time that this additional information is needed, many may already be at a crisis point. As such I thought I would revisit the ‘3 C’s‘ which deals with choosing an alternate living environment, most typically a retirement residence.
The first ‘C’: CARE
-Is the condition chronic, temporary, progressive or palliative?
-How is the condition being medically treated and what course of treatment and outcome can be expected?
-Will the care needs increase over time?
Experience talking: So often families don’t plan ahead and a move is made based on a poor assessment of what their needs will be tomorrow. Many retirement residences are not equipped to deal with complex medical needs from either a physical or cognitive perspective
The second ‘C’: COST
-What will be the monthly cost?
o Do you know all of the current costs that are incurred monthly? Remember that food and lodging is part of the retirement residence cost with care often being available on an incremental basis
-What is the cost of the care component by itself?
o Consider nursing costs, services of a personal support worker, other therapies
o Medication monitoring and administration
o Special equipment that may be needed and its availability in the community?
Experience talking: Fully document your current monthly expenses so that costs can be compared appropriately. It is important to compare apples to apples.
My third ‘C’: CHOICE
-What geographic location do I want to live in- what geographic boundaries are acceptable?
-Do I want to be close to family, friends, religious organization, doctors?
-Do I want to be close to public transportation?
-Are pets welcome?
-Other personal taste and traits that should be considered ie, special diets, religious affiliation or cultural group.
-What amenities are available?
Experience talking: The expression ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ holds true for retirement and long term care settings as well. Care, staff and service are often more important than new walls or furnishings. Take time to talk to other families as to their experience.
Understanding these 3 C’s is a great starting point as it addresses the reason for the move and the associated costs to be considered. While there is no set formula as to when the right time is to make such a move, safety and security are key while loneliness and isolation are important factors that many seniors face. While each person’s situation is unique, it is always best to make a move by choice rather than by necessity, when time constraints may be at issue.