Aging Well

Steps to Move Into Assisted Living

Mom has agreed to move into Assisted Living. How long can you expect it to take and what are the logistical steps to make it happen expeditiously and seamlessly?

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Mom understands she needs Assisted Living
Liisa Ogburn
It can be daunting to convince a resistant parent that their needs are such that they now need to move to Assisted Living. In a previous post, I wrote about general considerations when visiting Assisted Living options. Here I’ll provide the steps, once you’ve selected a place that meets your family member’s physical, financial, geographic, social and emotional needs. It’s not a simple matter of filling out an application. In a crisis (for example, your family member is being discharged from a hospital or rehab within days), it is possible to place someone in as short as three days, but you must have all hands on deck and cross your fingers that each of these steps goes smoothly:
  1. Express your serious interest to the Sales Director at the Assisted Living community.
  2. Schedule the nurse assessment.
The assessment usually can happen within 24-48 hours of expressing serious interest to the Sales Director. The nurse from the AL community can perform it at the community itself or at the potential resident’s home, if local. Many communities offer this for free, but some do charge in order to weed out families who aren’t truly serious. The nurse determines if the facility can meet the potential client’s needs, and if so, what level of care the client will move in with (so the family will know the exact monthly cost).
  • Schedule a visit to the family member's primary care physician to fill out an FL-2 form and do a TB test.
  • These must be performed within 30 days of the move-in date. TB test results take two days to be processed. It’s best to call the doctors’ office ahead of time since not everyone has these on-hand.
  • Turn in the application, pay the first month’s rent, plus the deposit, and set the move-in date.
  • Decide what to do about furniture.
  • Most families choose to bring furniture in from home, though some choose to rent furniture from the community. (Check out my post on Move Managers if you need help with this step.)
  • Inform the community of your parent’s interests.
  • Most communities have someone assigned to help integrate your parent and connect them with activities they like and seat them at meals with individuals who have similar interests, demeanors and cognitive faculties.
  • Be strategic in terms of the day and time of day you arrive with your parent.
  • Sometimes it’s useful to arrive at lunch time, so there is immediate activity for your parent and the potential to connect socially.

    A realistic timeframe for a move-in from the day you've decided on a place is two weeks, but I have handled it for some desperate clients in as fast as three days. The most common reasons for delays are not being able to get an appointment with the primary care physician for the FL-2 and TB test. Or their office may not have a TB test on-hand. Another common reason is that the AL community must prepare the recently-vacated room for the new resident. Finally, it sometimes comes down to when an adult child has the availability to take some days off work to oversee the move and help smooth the transition.


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