As you consider your options for retirement living, you may feel some trepidation. You likely have lived on your own for a very long time. Making the choice to live in a group setting may give you pause. After decades of ruling your own roost, you now will be part of a community, and subject to its rules and culture.
In an independent living setting, this isn’t quite as daunting. Still, you have some adjusting to do. The easiest way to acclimate is to ask your neighbors “how things are done.” In any community, there is more to know than what time meals are or how to schedule a trip into town. The people who already live where you want to can clue you in to what is considered right and reasonable, and you can determine whether that is a good fit.
If you choose a nursing home, there will be state and federal guidelines the facility must follow as part of its licensure. These exist to protect your rights and autonomy, and you would be wise to become familiar with the laws in your area. Most of these will be spelled out in the contract you sign and in the care plan that is developed after your assessment. A geriatric advocate can help you understand these documents.
Most important to remember is that unless you are unable to make decisions on your own, you are in charge of your care. If you are finding this difficult, you can have a designate make decisions on your behalf.
Your new community is obliged to keep you as healthy as possible. This means everything from an appropriate diet to proper medication. It also should include opportunities for exercise, even if it’s in a seated position. Especially for people with limited mobility, attentive care to prevent skin sores is an important part of any care plan.
Measures to keep residents secure must be respectful as well. While somepeople have concerns about physical restraints, such as belts or wrist restraints, they cannot be used unless medically necessary, and even then some states allow residents to refuse their use. Keep in mind that items may have dual purposes. A bed rail, for example, is considered a restraint if it is used to keep a resident from getting out of bed, but it also could be used to help someone turn over unassisted.