Assisted Living, Other Facilities–When Parents Need to Move

Assisted Living and Self-Care for Healthy LivingWhen your parents are considering moving for additional care needs, you have many choices of licensed facilities1: Assisted Living, Residential Care, Adult Care Homes, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities. (This post is a continuation of Caring for Aging Parents-Oregon Options) The information below is for the Portland, Oregon area. Licensing may be similar in Vancouver and SW Washington, through other agencies. Getting your parents settled, downsizing, organizing what they need in their new home, and frequent visits follow.

Assisted Living and Residential Care Facilities

Assisted Living Facilities (ALF’s) are wheelchair accessible and each person or couple has a private apartment. They are intended so people maintain their independence, privacy and dignity while getting light to moderate care. Residential Care Facilities (RCF’s) are licensed under rules similar to ALF’s, and can take 11 to 15 residents at a time. Both provide ample activities, and socialization. Cost averages about $3850/month (2014 rates).

Which Assisted Living or Residential Care Facility is Right?

Seniorhomes.com posts a comprehensive series of articles that answers common questions. The State of Oregon has compiled an excellent document, Guide to ALF’s and RCF’sOregon Health Care Association is a trade association with listings of over 620 facilities. Review sites for ALF’s and RCF’s can give you a sense of what other family members experience.

Assisted Living Seems Too Big? Private Adult Care or Foster Homes

Love can grow in an Adult Care Home between residents and staff.

Oregon pioneered for the whole country in Adult Care Homes or Adult Foster Care Homes. These are smaller, more personalized, sometimes family-run homes in neighborhood settings. Foster care providers and staff must meet state licensing regulations. They have more comprehensive experience and training than the care staff at ALF’s and RCF’s. They may also have more limitations–not all provide for continuous night care needs, for example. However, many provide excellent family-style care. Many provide excellent dementia care, and end-of-life care. Additionally, elders with dementia often get less agitated in a smaller setting.

The homes are licensed for 3 levels, based on care needs. Level 3 may even includes special needs care or bedbound residents. Private costs vary considerably, from around $2000-$5000/month. The licensing agencies and senior care info are different for each county: Multnomah http://web.multco.us/ads, Clackamas http://www.clackamas.us/socialservices/, and Washington http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/spwpd/pages/offices.aspx#washington.

Many of the Adult Foster Homes take low income or Medicaid. You will have the best choices if your parent can pay privately for at least the first year before funds run out. Look on the listings for homes that have an opening now, but do accept Medicaid.

Several placement services can help you find the best match. Here are some local sources of referrals to Adult Care Homes: Senior Resource Network, Adult Placement Network, A Place for Mom.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

These work well when your parents are still relatively independent. And when they are relatively cognitively intact. The facilities will do a screening on care needs before admission. They will exclude your parents for some serious health conditions and for moderate to severe cognitive losses. Your parents will usually be purchasing their residence, so they will need financial assets for the buy-in. As their care needs increase, those will mostly be met by health services onsite. So your parents will not have to disrupt their lives to move again. However, different communities have different policies.

In the meantime, your parents will develop connections and friendships within the community. They will be able to participate in an active social and cultural life. This is the epitome of “aging in place.”

This is also a good option when your parents are at a distance and you can’t look in frequently. However, the financial implications and contracts need to be discussed with the whole family. For an overview, see Life Care Contracts and Continuing Care Retirement Communities.

curled catDownsizing, Organizing for “the Move”

Getting ready to move could take a lot of work on your part. It is easier with the right professional help. You might check out this article on senior downsizing tips. Or this downsizing checklist for caregivers. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has members in every state. They are a valuable asset at this time in your parents’ care. See How to Hire an Organizer and their member directory, NAPO’s Find an Organizer.

yay-12853660Self-Care When You Care for Parents

Plan self-care time into your daily schedule. As much as you love your parents, you also need a life. Enjoy spiritual and social groups. Sing. Dance. Check into the outstanding support groups for adult children caregivers, and specialty groups when your parents have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or Parkinson’s. Your county’s Area Agency on Aging will have lists. You realize you are not alone in the hair-tearing moments, share a laugh in the side-splitting moments, and connect with others when you burst with pride for the parents who used to be proud of you. For self-care tips on the internet, try Self Improvement from SelfGrowth.com. Or call Rosi 503-708-2911 for free consultation. I am here for you!


Rosi has been caring for elders since 1988. First, in Southern Oregon, she was a caregiver in an adult care home. Then for 8 1/2 years she offered a placement service for families looking to find care for elderly and persons with disabilities. Finally, in Portland, she managed the care for her own mother from 2001 (pic on left) until Dec., 2015 (pic on right). Her mother is laughing as Rosi sang “Every Baby Needs a Dinosaur” for the newborn great-grandchild.

She has been a massage therapist since 2009, and enjoys working both with elders and their advocates/ caregivers and their children who are looking for self-care or stress relief. You may schedule an appointment with Integration Massage, near Portland’s Multnomah Village at Schedule Appointment  Or call for more information: 503-708-2911.

1 State of Oregon links are in blue, and private organization links are in greenThis post is a continuation of Caring for Aging Parents-Oregon Options

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