Families are caught in a bind. Mom needs assisted living now but the timing’s wrong. Either the communities aren’t admitting new residents, or your referral agent recommends waiting. The problem revolves around staffing and caregiver shortages in the metro area.
If you read the news, then you already know our workforce is in flux. Especially in the hospitality and health care industries. And that includes assisted living.
Facilities are supposed to hire staff according to the number of residents and acuity of care. So, when they can’t find people to fill crucial roles, they can’t admit new residents. Or, to mitigate the issue, communities may lower the ceiling of care they’ll provide.
This means assisted living vacancies are often limited or your referral agent recommends waiting. Your agent may be concerned about communities getting overextended until the crisis passes.
Consequently, families find themselves wondering how to keep their loved one safe while waiting for an opening.
Here’s a list of ideas for keeping your loved one safe while waiting to move.
Use short-term in-home care services
These services hire their own care staff who bring services to the home. Housekeeping, meal prep, personal care, bathing, and companionship are some of the services they provide. Usually, in-home care services set a weekly minimum of hours you must purchase. Hourly rates run around $40/hour. (Ask your referral agent for services they recommend. But FYI, in-home care agencies may have staffing issues also.)
Use a shopping and meal service
Most grocery stores have delivery services. But you can also hire someone to menu plan, shop, prep, and deliver meals to your loved one.
Rent or purchase personal call alarms with fall alerting, ring alarms, and video monitoring (with your loved one’s permission). Consider renting an electronic medication dispensing machine. These are essential if you’re worried someone isn’t taking their pills accurately.
Time to call in all the troops
Ask all family members to step up in support of your elder. Those who live close by can help shop, make meals, and do a little housework. Also, there are plenty of tasks for everyone - even those who work full-time or live out of town. Ask them to commit to calling more often or helping pay for in-home services. Remind them that this is a short-term fix.
Perhaps you, a family member, or a close friend could move in with your loved one for a short time. College or older high school students can also be good candidates.
These ideas can help keep your loved one safe while waiting for an opening in assisted living.
Avoid the problem altogether
However, you can avoid the problem altogether. Start your search for supportive living long before you’re on the tipping point. Know the signs that your loved one will need assisted living soon. Contact a referral agent to start the process.