It’s interesting to me that Assisted Living has been “pigeonholed” for lack of a better term, into being associated with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders. Rarely would anyone immediately think “Cancer” or Parkinson’s Disease” when they consider Assisted Living.
However, some of the most common questions I have received over the decade-plus that I have been active in the Senior Care industry have had to do with individuals or families attempting to find appropriate Assisted Living care that can handle the challenges presented by having Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
Consider this small sample of questions I have received relevant to PD and searching for appropriate Long-Term Care –
***If you are here simply to find care for someone (or yourself) with PD, please go here.
Real questions & comments we have received relevant to finding Assisted Living for Parkinson’s Disease
- “We have an aging parent with Parkinsons. Can your assisted living facility provide care? She can dress and eat herself, but is confused and needs reminders to do so” – Louise
- “Could you please provide some basic cost info for a single male age 75 with Parkinson’s but still ambulatory?” – Thanks, Curtis
- “Do you accept one week visitors? My 89 year old Mom wheelchair bound, with Parkinson’s, needs a break from the harsh NY winter. Would bring her along with an aid for a week. Who knows? If she likes it maybe she could stay longer but for now talking about one week. Is that an option. Need kosher, Jewish.” – Carol
- “My husband has had Parkinson’s for 16 years and I have been his caregiver for all that time. We are now looking in to Senior Living away from home. Martha Patterson has told me about you.” – Danielle
- “Parkinsons PSP What are your rates and do you cover this type of illness” – Rosalyn
- “Hello, I am helping my research a care facility for my 90 year old father who has Parkinson’s and Alzheimers. He has been living at home in West Los Angeles with Day time helper for last 4 years, but I think it’s time be realistic and put him on a waiting list at the best home possible. Please contact me soon.” – Thanks, Denise
- “My wife has Parkinson’s and Dementia. I am looking for a place where we can be together and she can be cared for.” – Joseph
- “Hello, I am helping my research a care facility for my 90 year old father who has Parkinson’s. He has been living at home in West Los Angeles with Day time helper for last 4 years, but I think it’s time be realistic and put him on a waiting list at the best home possible. Please contact me soon.” – Thanks, Denise
- “We are looking for a facility for my father. He can no longer live in his own house. He has Parkinson’s Disease and needs help with all ADL’s and at this point is non-ambulatory. Do you accept these type of patients? If so what is the cost and are there any openings?” – Nancy
The challenges presented by placing someone with PD into a care environment such as assisted living can be more pronounced and specific than those presented by residents with other conditions, or who may simply be seniors with few or no significant health issues.
- Falling and Fall Prevention: An assisted living home or community must have outstanding fall prevention training for their staff, as well as a physical structure and environment that will help to minimize risk of falls for all residents, including those with PD, who may be especially susceptible to falls.
- Medication Management: Can the care facility effectively manage the medication requirements of a resident with Parkinson’s Disease. This means having staff who understand and have a working knowledge of the different medications, and who can not only administer them, effectively and safely, but also acquire and store the proper medications for residents with PD who need them.
- Social Support: People need to feel supported and connected to those with similar life experiences or situations. Can the facility offer support groups for those resident(s) who have PD, and / or can the facility arrange for transportation for the resident to local support groups, or events relevant to supporting those with Parkinson’s Disease? Are there other residents in the facility who also suffer from PD?
- Continuing Care: Can the facility offer care through all stages of PD? Forcing a resident to move to another facility because they simply can’t accommodate progressing and more challenging needs is very traumatic for the resident. Making sure that a facility can handle the advancing and end stages of Parkinson’s Disease is crucial.
- Track Record: Has the facility handled (successfully) other residents who have had PD?
Tips for Parkinson’s Disease Caregivers:
These are all fair questions and concerns to ask. Additionally, it is highly recommended that you ask each facility about it’s record of inspections, complaints, violations, and most importantly, how the facility has responded to any issues or deficiencies that have come up in the past.
Finding Assisted Living for Someone with Parkinson’s Disease
Unfortunately, most assisted living facilities don’t overtly tell you (through brochures, or on their websites) that they can care for, or handle a resident with Parkinson’s Disease. As mentioned previously, most assisted living facilities place their focus on memory care, or general care for seniors. I’ve visited many assisted living facilities over the years, and I’ve been surprised many times when I asked about PD, that facilities often times have staff trained to care for Parkinson’s residents. I would have never known had I not asked.
Clearly, asking each facility can be incredibly time-consuming, so how can the process be accelerated, or how can you get help?
- Contact Your Local Area Agency on Aging: Every resident of the US is covered by the services provided by a Local Area Agency on Aging. These agencies are not-for-profit, and can help guide seniors toward services or living arrangements that suit their needs or conditions. Some AAA’s are better than others, but it’s worth a shot. AAA’s can often times cut through the ‘commercialism’ normally found online to provide you with the best information that isn’t tilted towards some commercial interest or company. Learn more about Local Area Agencies on Aging and find YOUR local AAA here.
- Call (866) 940-8916 – This is a national group of Placement Advisors who will (at no cost) find appropriate Long-Term Care (Assisted Living) anywhere in the US for someone with PD.
- Visit our Research Guides section where we offer tools and resources for researching and finding Assisted Living care by State.
- Search Directly on places like YouTube or Google Maps. This is a great way to cut through a lot of the ‘commercial fluff’ found by simply doing a search on google or yahoo. For example, I found the following assisted living facility that specifically states that they care for residents with PD
Expanding on the Google Maps suggestion above, I went to Google Maps, and typed in “Parkinson’s Care Home” and a city, and was able to come up with several options.
First Step: Type in “Parkinson’s Care Home” or “Parkinson’s Assisted Living” and then your city.
Step 2: Choose your facility option.
In this case, I chose the Better Living & Care choice, which took me to that facility’s specific page. I was able to get a direct phone number, and the facility’s direct website, and a map of the facility’s location.
Step 3: Confirm that the facility can handle a resident with PD.
In this case it was easy. I went to the facility website, and it specifically lists PD as one of the conditions they are equipped to handle.
Obviously this method will be more successful with larger cities. However, it’s worth a try, and it is a great way to research without having to navigate your way through a maze of ads and mis-information.
I hope that your research proves to be successful. I would love to hear from you if you have found a great way to find Long-Term Care for those suffering from PD. I’ve tried to offer a handful of helpful ways to do so in this post, but I am sure there are strategies yet to be uncovered.
Thanks everyone, and best wishes and luck with your search, and research!
Learn More about Finding The Best Assisted Living for Parkinson’s Disease