Thursday, February 21, 2013

My elderly parent is physically disabled; will an Assisted Living Facility accommodate his needs?

By Bob Gregory,

Assisted Living Facilities are meant for those who are in need of some assistance with daily living, yet aim to live as independently as possible.  If your parent has been able to live independently with their disability but now needs some assistance, then an Assisted Living Facility may be a good way to extend their independence.   Physically disabled individuals who are not mentally impaired by their disability will certainly be more comfortable in a Senior Facility that has residents their age and possibly with similar disabilities.  Most Assisted Living Facilities are equipped to handle residents with physical disabilities as well as physical impairments that are often associated with aging.  Assisted Living Facilities have several advantages for someone with physical disabilities:
And they call this a walk in the park...
And they call this a walk in the park... (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

  • They provide independence with assistance.
  • They provide support and access to care 24-hours a day.
  • They can arrange for on-going therapy and assure the resident receives the treatment.
  • They are accustomed to providing assistance with meals, bathing, walking, eating and other daily activities, such as getting out of bed or moving from a chair to the bathroom.
  • They often provide support groups with residents with similar physical disabilities
Not all Assisted Living Facilities provide the same services so you will need to do your research.  You will find most provide the services listed above but you will need to ask a few more questions to assure your parent’s particular physical disability can be accommodated.

Here are a few questions you need to ask:

  1. Does the facility have residents with the same physical disability as your parent?  This will be a good indication that they have experience in handling individuals with your parent’s disability.
  2. Does the facility have staff with training or certification in dealing with the type of physical disability as your parent?  Keep in mind that the actual medical staff in an Assisted Living Facility is limited but some do have specialist on staff.  Do not be discouraged if they do not have a specialist on staff as there may be other factors that compensate.
  3. Does the facility have staff that coordinates home care visits from a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist or other professional care provider your parent may require?
  4. Does the facility offer transportation services for office visits to a physical therapist, occupational therapist or other professional care provider?  Most facilities do offer transportation but be
     sure your parent’s regularly scheduled appointments are not an issue to be included in the normal transportation schedule of the facility.
    I am blind, but I can see
    I am blind, but I can see (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)
  5. Does the facility have support groups or guest counselors available for your parent’s type of physical disability?  Support groups are great and if the facility does not have one, offer to help create one or ask if the facility would start a group.  You will find the facility more likely to help out if they have other residents with the same disability.
  6. Ask about the social activities that are available for residents with the type of physical disability as your parent.  It is important that your parent does not feel isolated because of their disability and they stay engaged and socialize!
  7. Ask if the facility will provide special equipment needed or if that will be your responsibility.  You will most likely be responsible for special equipment but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  You may also find that the facility can help find used equipment at a good price.
  8. Ask about additional charges due to special services your parent may require.  Most Assisted Living Facilities are not a “one size fits all” and you may find there will be additional charges for services that are not covered in the standard fee. 
These questions should help you determine whether the Assisted Living Facility you interview will be a good residence for your parent and help extend their independence.  If you find they have residents with similar physical disabilities, ask to speak with the resident and their family for a referral.  Most facilities will be happy to have you do this as they try to provide the highest level of service possible.  Keep in mind that not all Assisted Living Facilities provide the same level of service so you need to make sure they are equipped to handle your parent. Also, consult your parent’s physician and therapist for recommendations as most have relationships with Assisted Living Facilities.  Finally, dealing with physical disabilities is different than mental disabilities so be honest with the facility whether your parent suffers from any mental disabilities due to the physical disability.  It will save a lot of heartache in the future!

If you find you need an Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope you will consider
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider

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