A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Oregon to speak at three assisted living communities across the state. I posted some pictures of the event on the Inside Elder Care Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/eldercare. Brookdale brought me up from California to visit three communities—all from distinct areas within Oregon. They were:
- Albany – small towns set in an agricultural area just southeast of Portland
- McMinnville – right in the center of Oregon wine country
- Gresham – at the base of Mount Hood (yes, I was cold)
At each community, I gave a talk entitled Assisted Living Saved My Mom—a presentation communities ask me to give that provides an insider’s view about how to determine which assisted living community is best for your family. Assisted Living Saved My Mom shares many techniques that uncover information you would never get from just speaking to an admissions director. Brookdale provided a copy of my book to each who attended—something appreciated by the attendees. Based on the large amount of feedback I received from attending families and people in the industry, the message really hit home and benefited many people.
Despite the obvious differences in the locations of each of these communities, I found a few things in common:
- Warm and friendly: nearly every person I met—from the staff to the residents—were very welcoming and warm.
- Pride: there is a strong sense of pride in the residents that carried over to their feeling that it was their responsibility to make new residents comfortable.
- Camaraderie: I got the feeling that the residents genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. You could tell because they all knew each other’s little quirks and habits—something they found amusing.
One thing that came up repeatedly was the concern over “How do I pay for this stuff?” Many people were surprised there were other payment options beside just selling their house and paying cash.
When I wrote the By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living, I interviewed nearly 200 families to ask them about the concerns related to assisted living and elder care. The issue of paying for elder care came up as a primary concern from almost three-quarters of those families.
The financial issues are the elephant in the room. Most people don’t know how to solve them or even where to start, because there is no holistic guide for families on how to navigate these issues. I am a month or two away from releasing my second book that gets into these answers—the feedback from those that have seen it has been really positive. Stay tuned.