The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 2, 2011

Seeing the signs

Opting for assisted living can be positive life move

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— Seeing the deterioration of a parent or loved one can be difficult.

However, it is important not only to recognize but to heed signs that point to a needed move to an assisted living center.

Suzanne Jenlink, director of resident services for The Commons, said an elderly person often shows signs he may not be able to live on his own.

“If they have stopped doing personal hygiene because the bathtub may be scary or it is too hard. If they can’t manage their money. If they can’t take their medicine properly. They are all indication they need help. If they can’t get out of their house if there is fire. Are they cooking and leaving burners on and doing things that are dangerous? If they are doing things that are dangerous to themselves or others, it may be time,” Jenlink said.

Families often will make the decision for assisted living center care following a hospital stay.

“A lot of times they have a fall or injury and go to the hospital. Then the hospital asks where they are going to go because they can’t go home and take care of themselves,” Jenlink said.

How to talk to a loved one about about moving to an assisted living facility

Talking to a loved one about needing to enter an assisted living facility can be a difficult task. The reaction to the news can be difficult on the son or daughter trying to help his or her aging parent.

Jenlink suggested a unique approach for each individual.

“It depends on the person. Some are very reasonable and some are going to act very emotionally. I think it is good to do it gradually so when the time comes it will be easier. Before it is time tell them, it is time to start thinking about assisted living,” said Jenlink.

Jenlink said people think nursing home when when they hear assisted living.

“Assisted living is more independent. It is more like home because they have their own apartment but they have staff here to help them 24 hours a day,” Jenlink said.

How to choose an assisted living facility

Once the need for an assisting living situation is established, the next step is working on which facility would fit the wants and needs of the individual.

“Get them out and take them on tours. If they have a friend that is happy in assisted living take them to visit their friend. That can do a lot of convincing,” Jenlink said.

If people are looking at The Commons, they are welcome to eat lunch at the facility and meet the staff and residents.

“I would go in and visit it, take a tour. See if the rooms are big enough for furniture. We want them to have a little bit of space. Look around and see if people see happy,” Jenlink said. “Talk to people who live there. A lot of times you can find them in the dining room or common area. See if the staff seems friendly. Look at activities and food menus.”