The sudden need for an elderly family member to have assistance or be a part of a senior care community can be a big shock. Getting caught off guard with the sudden need to move your loved one to an assisted living community or nursing home can add stress to you and your family’s lives.
However, you can avoid all the stress and uncertainty by planning ahead and adding your loved one to a senior community waitlist. Once your family member is on a waitlist, you can rest assured that they will have a place to get the care and services they need when the time comes.
What is Senior Living?
The most basic definition of senior living is a retirement community or housing group where retirees who can generally care for themselves live to enjoy activities and socialization opportunities together. However, while some of the more exclusive communities might require waiting periods, when we talk about a waitlist for senior living we mean a different kind of senior living option.
As seniors age, they generally need help with their day-to-day care or activities of daily living (ADLs). To get assistance with things like medication management, bathing, and mobility, many seniors need to find a living situation where these kinds of services are provided.
Assisted living communities and nursing homes offer assistance with ADLs and, in the case of nursing homes, dedicated nursing care for seniors who need in-depth aid. Getting your loved one on the waitlist to be in line for a spot in a community ensures that your loved one has these services when they need them.
What is a Senior Living Waitlist?
A senior living waitlist lets you reserve a place in a senior living community like an assisted living community or a nursing home without having to immediately move in. Most places are going to require a deposit, which may or may not be refundable. Once placed on the list, most communities will let you know when you reach the top and are able to move in. Sometimes you can defer the move-in and maintain your position at the top of the list, or you may be moved to the bottom of the list after deferment.
How Can a Senior Living Waitlist Relieve Stress?
It’s difficult to know exactly when your loved one is going to need assisted living or nursing care, so having a plan in place can relieve a lot of the stress that you experience when helping make a plan for an aging family member.
Making a snap decision due to stress when your loved one suddenly needs help with ADLs or needs to quickly be moved to a senior living community often means picking the first available location— even if it doesn’t really fit the needs or wants of your loved one.
Having a spot reserved on a senior living waitlist gives you both security and control when it comes to making these difficult choices for your family member. You have the time to find the right community to fit your loved ones needs. You can look at the differences between assisted living communities and nursing homes, look at pricing across communities, and take your loved one to tour so they know what their new home will be like.
When is the Right Time for a Waitlist?
You don’t necessarily need to start looking for a waitlist to join the minute a loved one reaches retirement age, but you should be aware of their health to look for signs that they might need assistance with ADLs. Once you notice some signs, it might be time to talk with your loved one about finding a community and being added to their waitlist.
Warning signs that it might be time to consider making a move to senior living include:
- Falling or stumbling often
- Lapses in memory or cognitive function
- Struggle to keep enough food in the house
- Difficulty remembering when to take medications
- Decreased social life and engagement
- Unclean or grimy house
- Visible changes in appearance
- The need for frequent medical care
What Should My Next Steps Be?
If you think you want to get your loved one on a waiting list for senior living, there is no better time to start looking than now. Researching early on can help you find the right place that fits your family member’s lifestyle and budget range.
Be prepared, and don’t let the period to add your loved one to a waitlist pass by. Look for signs that it may be time for them to move, and have a plan of action in place so that you aren’t caught unawares. Being on a senior living waitlist can help ensure that your loved one will have the care they need, when they need it.