During my twenty-three year nursing career I’ve often spent enough months or years working in various facilities to feel like I lived right along with the residents that I took care of. The system of institutionalizing adults has become very familiar to me.
While it’s necessary in many instances to have a safe place for elders to live when they have no where to go or no means to care for themselves, finding the right institution is a tough call. Facilities exist all over the country in various forms and all of them are eager to fill empty rooms and generate revenue for the businesses they run. At most of them, a simple phone call can set you up with a tour and a visit with the facility social worker to help guide you into their system. The pressure is on once you get to the social worker.
Much like a car salesman, the facility social worker is well trained to hone in on your perceived wants and needs and provide you with a pitch, with the ultimate hope of selling you their product, a room in their facility.
Similar to car shopping, facility shopping and finding the right fit for your budget, your style and your long term customer satisfaction, requires research. It helps to know exactly what product you want before you need the it. If your desired car is actually a truck, you really don’t want to shop at a minivan sales lot. So how do you know which lot carries the product you want? How do you even know which dealer is the most reputable or who offers the most bang for your buck?
It’s time to do some soul searching, the investment you make in long term care is much more important than an investment in any material product, even a car. Obviously, you can’t buy a luxury car on a limited budget, but if you are on a limited budget, you know that you would like to get the best darned auto for your money. Of course, if you can afford luxury, those homes are out there too, but you still want to look for the best one. Also like new vehicles, care facilities all have their own “whistles and bells” for additional charges. You need some idea going in of just which of those “whistles and bells” you consider a necessity and which are merely luxuries that you may or may not desire.
That stereo system that comes in clear and picks up every station and has the speaker capacity to blow the windows out of the car in the next lane is wonderful, but if the engine under the hood isn’t sound, you are going to be running back and forth to the dealer for repairs that are going to cost you time and money and frustrate the dickens out of you.
Being prepared before you shop and knowing ahead of time what you want is the key. Waiting until your old car is ready for the bone yard may force you into making decisions that can leave you feeling pressured and unsatisfied later. There are too many options out there and you need to explore them before the time comes to use them.