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Finding Alternative Housing

By Jennifer Prell
 
Everyone that works with families knows that emotions are involved and being a family caregiver can be a very stressful ordeal. Working in a hospital you see all kinds of families and the different dynamics of those families.

The following are some scenarios when a senior cannot go home and must find alternative housing.

The Involved Family – This type of family is very involved in the decision making process. They want to know everything about the situation they’re loved one is in. What are the options, choices, etc. They will investigate housing options and then make an informed decision. They are hands-on. When a discharge planner gives them a list of housing options they will call and tour five to nine on the list and then make a decision.

Non-Committal Family - Some families want you to do it all and don’t care how
things get done as long as they don’t have to make a decision themselves.

They aren’t able to make an absolute decision, need advice and whatever decision you lean them towards they’ll take.  You give them a list of housing options and they’ll ask you what the best choice is and go with what you say. They may tour a few places but they need help choosing the right one.

The Missing Family - Some families don’t even show up to the hospital for their loved one. They don’t care what happens - period. You can call them, give them lists, and no decision will be made by this family. The senior in need is on their own.

The Alone Senior – The senior has no one to help them. If they are able to make decisions they will look to you for your expertise and guidance. They’re scared, alone, and really need an advocate to help them find the right resources to help them make informed decisions.

All of the above scenarios are typical and discharge planners are put into a position where quality of life decisions are made. Since most of the discharge planners do not get to tour all of the senior housing options in their area they should think about helpful resources such as a senior referral agency or a geriatric care manager to assist.

Most senior referral agencies are free to the senior and family. They will help find the best senior housing or care option that meets the senior’s needs, budget, location, and care requirements without expecting payment. They are funded by the many communities in their network.

Senior referral agencies are experts in senior housing and provide other referrals such as elder law attorneys, financial advisers, geriatric care managers, etc. as a free service as needed.

Geriatric Care Managers will also help the family find senior housing but they are usually paid by the hour and have a minimum service fee. They are experts in senior issues and can also help the family that is a little more dysfunctional and can’t make decisions. No matter which route a discharge planner takes finding senior housing can be very time consuming. Accepting help from outside professional resources cost nothing to the hospital or the senior is a win-win. The senior referral agency will help reduce time spent by the discharge planner on finding appropriate housing, reduce the senior’s time in the hospital, as well as make the discharge planner the hero for helping the senior find a resource that can help them find a new home.

Jennifer Prell, President of Elderwerks, can be reached at Jennifer.Prell@Elderwerks.com or 855-462-0100