Why Am I Still Running Errands?

At a recent conference a caregiver asked me; “Why am I still running errands for my Mother; she now lives in a supportive living facility”?   This not the first time an adult child believed they would have fewer errands if the parent was moved. Not quite; it depends on the facility.

Supportive living facilities can be very helpful for some things; home maintenance is now someone elses responsibility. Meals are prepared by the staff. Nursing care is available in an emergency or for medication dispensing. However, it is as important to know what the facility will not do as it is to know what they will do. Here is your question list:

  1. Who does personal laundry? Does the staff do it for the senior? With the senior’s involvement? Is help automatic or by family request?   Is there a charge?
  2. Does the facility offer a minibus to take residents shopping? How often? [Some facilities reserve their transportation for medical appointments. Others prioritize transport for medical errands and put shopping behind medical needs.]   Ask. Is there a charge?
  3. Where does the minibus go? Your senior is used to certain stores. Adapting to a new store may require you to take them a couple times. Knowing where they will be shopping will help your senior adjust.
  4. How mobile must the senior be to use these shopping trips? (Is your senior able to walk around stores that much?) Do these stores have scooters? (Can your senior operate one without your guidance?)
  5. Must the senior sign up for these trips in advance? (Can your senior remember the shopping trip and get ready?) (Can they create a shopping list?)
  6. Does the facility send a staff member with the senior when they attend medical appointments? Is this service automatic or by family request? Is there an additional charge?

These answers better prepare you to evaluate facilities. If facility charges for certain services, that is part of the total cost of care. If they don’t offer such help; you return to errand-running. Make an informed decision; ask.


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