If you’re an adult child watching your parents get older, it can be difficult to tell when is the right time to make the move to an assisted living community. Some signs are more obvious than others, but listening to your gut is key, according to Margie Veis, Oakmont of Santa Clarita’s executive director.
By: Lori Bashian
It’s usually a son or daughter’s instinct to trust their parent if they say they’re taking their medication and eating well, but Veis emphasized that in this situation, just asking questions isn’t always enough.
“Open the refrigerator. Is it filled with food? Look at the food — is the milk expired, is the bread stale?” she said. “Are their medications placed haphazardly? If they’re using a medication box, look at it. If it’s Tuesday and all the meds are still there, that’s a sign.”
Issues with memory are another sign to watch out for, as they could be an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia.
“If your mom has always been sharp and with it, and then in the first five minutes, she’s telling you the same story — or … ‘I just saw my neighbor,’ and then two minutes later, ‘Oh, did I tell you I just bumped into my neighbor?’ — it’s out of the norm,” Veis explained. “You know your parents best, so you have to trust your gut, and that’s a hard thing.”
Instead of waiting for something to happen that forces the decision to move to an assisted living community, Veis advised being proactive instead.
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“Take that first step and see, what is assisted living? What is Oakmont? What do you offer, what does it cost, how does this work? So at least in your mind, you have an idea,” she said.
Even if assisted living isn’t necessary right now, communities like Oakmont usually have waitlists for potential residents so it won’t be a panicked last-minute effort when the decision becomes imminent.
“Start exploring that option so that when something happens — because usually something’s going to happen — you’re prepared,” Veis said. “Once that incident happens, where that fall happens and a hip is broken, they get pneumonia, they aren’t eating … you start to lose control. You start being forced to make decisions and emotion takes over and you’re not thinking clear. So the more informed you can be prior, the better you’re going to be.”
Though some may still picture a “skilled nursing” home with wheelchairs lining the halls when they think of an assisted living community like Oakmont of Santa Clarita, Veis said that this is simply not the case.
“It’s a community, it’s a social model, it’s seniors that are choosing this alternative lifestyle — some more willing than others,” she said. “But I think adult children need to come in and look so that when they present it to their parent, at least they have an understanding.”
Oakmont is a luxury senior living community in Santa Clarita located on seven acres of land on Newhall Ranch Road. Recently opened in January 2016, Oakmont of Santa Clarita is comprised of 80 pet-friendly apartment units, with both independent and assisted living options available. Residents can enjoy five star amenities like a salon & day spa, movie theater, fitness center, restaurant-style dining, gardens and walking paths, pet park, wellness center and more. A separate wing of the community, called Traditions Memory Care, is dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
28650 Newhall Ranch Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355