How Long Will It Take to Move My Parents into Assisted Living?

It’s up to you, says the Community Relations Coordinator at Highgate at Bozeman, but the longer, the better.

Mother & daughter holding each others hands in front of them. Main focus is on their hands

Jeremy Glover has been working in the senior living industry for nearly a decade, and it’s not as simple as this, he admits, but there are basically two ways someone moves into assisted living: choice or circumstance.

Guess which one leads to better outcomes?

“In my experience, when people move in because it’s their choice, the experience is a lot better,” says Glover, Community Relations Coordinator at Highgate at Bozeman.

Why? Because there’s a lot that needs to happen before your parents move into assisted living, and how long it will take isn’t as much about weeks, months, or years as it is about taking the time you need to make sure you feel confident that you’re moving your loved one into the right assisted living facility for them.

Choice vs. Circumstance

Most people want to live out their days at home, but there are some seniors out there who are ready to make a change. They recognize that assisted living offers them a chance to make new friends, enjoy a fine-dining experience without having to step foot in the kitchen, and take up an old (or new) hobby.

These folks see the benefits of moving to assisted living sooner rather than later, and they choose to move into the right assisted living community for them.

Then there are the people who take a spill in the bathroom or have a stroke and end up in a hospital bed, where a social worker drops by to tell them and their caregiver that they’re unsafe to go home and they need to quickly make alternative arrangements.

These folks knew they’d probably need some kind of long-term care in their later years but failed to make a plan, and now their circumstances require their relatives to conduct a quick search for the most expedient option, often resulting in moving into an assisted living facility that might not the best fit.

“This type of move-in — one that’s dictated by circumstance — progresses more quickly,” Glover says. “I accommodate both situations with the same equity, but we really want to start the move-in process with a conversation. We need to sit down and figure out what they need and want. Then we make the best experience possible given the situation.”

2 Hours vs. 5 Years

Glover has helped families navigate the move to assisted living in two days, but his preference is to work with families who take months, even years, to make the move.

There are folks we really get to know,” he says. “They do their due diligence. They visit, come in for lunch, come in for an activity, and get to know our folks. We build a relationship with them. It’s not transactional. It’s relational. They have the best experience.”

Making the move isn't easy. That’s why planning ahead and taking the time to thoroughly research options ensures you choose the right one for your parent’s needs.

Planning vs. Reacting

It is probably never going to feel like the right time to have “The Talk” about assisted living with a parent, so Glover suggests getting a third party involved.

“Come talk to a specialist like Jean [Mickelsen, Community Relations Coordinator at Highgate at Bozeman] or myself,” he says. “We build a roadmap right from the get-go. Once we figure out the wants and needs and find the suite that they want within our community, we establish a time frame.”

Three things need to happen before anyone can move into Highgate at Bozeman:

1. Clinical assessment

“First, we do a clinical assessment of their needs, so we can put their care plan on paper, whether it’s independent living, assisted living, or memory care,” Glover says. 

2. Medical records

The care partners also need to notify the incoming resident’s primary care provider and get medical records from them.

3. Contract

Then families sign a month-to-month agreement.

Ultimately, the amount of time it takes to move your parents into assisted living is up to you. If you plan ahead for long-term care, you can avoid the stress and regret of hasty decisions and help your loved one make the most of assisted living.

If you think it still might be too early to start the search, download our eBook Signs It’s Time to Start the Search for Assisted Living.

Signs It's Time to Start the Search for Assisted Living