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Couple from Out-of-State Moving to Assisted Living

Mr. and Mrs. J are in their mid-80’s. They lived in an independent living community in Arizona. Their adult children live in the Portland area and wanted their parents to live closer to them, since Mr. and Mrs. J had no family nearby in Arizona.

Mr. J was independent and very healthy, but Mrs. J was having quite a bit of unsteadiness on her feet, which caused a fall that resulted in a fracture. Because of the fracture, she was rehabilitating in a skilled nursing facility to get her up and walking again.

We did a phone assessment with the family to determine the specific needs of both Mr. and Mrs. J. It was clear that Mr. J would not need assisted living services, but Mrs. J would. They had particular geographic preferences, but their budget was not a restrictive issue.

We toured with their adult children and looked at three different assisted living facilities (ALFs). They liked all three for different reasons; two of them were in a location that was very convenient, another had a skilled nursing facility next door. Then Mr. J flew here from Arizona and we visited the communities again. One issue we ran into is the assessment: Before a resident is accepted into an ALF, he or she must be assessed by a staff member (usually a nurse) from the community. Some assisted living communities will do this initial assessment long-distance, via communication with the care staff at the residents’ current community, their in-home care providers, and their doctors. Some communities also have locations in other states, where a nurse from their local community can go and assess. Others will require that the assessment be done in person after the resident arrives in their new state. One of the ALFs we toured requires an in-person assessment of the couple. Mr. J was available for an in-person assessment, but Mrs. J was still in Arizona undergoing rehabilitation. Because they wanted to plan ahead and didn’t want to worry that Mrs. J might not meet this ALF’s criteria, they ended up ruling out that particular ALF for that reason.

Once Mrs. J. was discharged from rehabilitation, they both came back to Portland again and spent time at the two remaining communities, even staying overnight in respite stay apartments. They moved into a lovely 2-bedroom apartment at one of the communities and are secure in knowing that Mrs. J is receiving the care she needs, while Mr. J has plenty of activities and outings to meet his need for independence.

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