Advice Assisted Living

Does This 30 Second Elevator Senior Care Speech Help You?

Graphic with Argentum logo and messaging about the senior living search process

Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults. We had the pleasure of interviewing Argentum’s Chief Operating Officer, Maribeth Bersani, to get her expert opinion on the senior care search process.

Q: If you had to give someone a senior care search step-by-step in 30 seconds (elevator speech-style), what would you say?

A: Decide on location and price first, and then — if appropriate by a particular determinant —for example,  to be in the city or by a church. Then start the process by using the internet, getting word of mouth recommendations, reviewing checklists, then making the in-person visit. Be sure there is an understanding of the different programs available: IL, AL, Memory Care,  CCRC, Skilled Nursing. And during the visits, the senior — not the adult child — needs to decide about the right fit: Is this where I want to live? Do I like the way the caregivers and residents interact, othe programs the community offers?

Other opinions are fine, but at the end of the day, it is personal — just like a restaurant or movie. And with so many choices available now, you have to zero in on what is MOST important: For example is the main meal served at noon or the evening? If you have a strong preference about this, then it is important to know.

When you decide on the place, ask about the state licensing survey (small indiscretions should be weighed as such). Also, ask about staff tenure. Does the community have a pattern of Executive Directors changing frequently in a year?


Q: What do most people misunderstand about the search process?

A: The level of support provided — i.e. setting expectations. Often, the adult child thinks there will be one-to-one caregiver support 24/7 and that’s just not the reality.

Adult children also need to understand it is still the resident’s choice of what they do during the day. Even though the adult child may want mom to play mahjong, if mom wants to sit quietly, that desire needs to be accepted and respected. And if you think mom is not going to eat candy during the day anymore (which was something she did at home that concerned you), she still might. Older adults have the right to continue making their own decisions — as long as they are not putting themselves in danger — even after they move into a senior living community.”


Stay tuned for more tips and insights at Open Conversations
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