For Long Islanders, whose loved one may be in need of a new level of care and living arrangement, Eldercare Advisor Mike McClernon, owner of the Assisted Living Locators Long Island franchise, wants them to know that the pandemic is not preventing facilities from accepting new residents, although new precautionary policies are in place. Still, some Long Islanders may be grappling with whether now would be the right time to make this decision.
“I always say to clients who are unsure about the timing of their decision to ask themselves, why now?” said McClernon. “There may have been a series of falls, or increasing bouts of incontinence or a sudden progression of dementia which can progress exponentially. In any case, there is usually the realization by a family member that it is no longer in the best interest for their loved one to remain at home, but instead should be living in an environment where they will be receiving the necessary level of medical care and attention.”
For those concerned that their loved one may be placed at greater risk of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus if they were to now enter an assisted living facility, memory care facility or nursing home, McClernon noted that these facilities are taking extraordinary precautions to prevent that.
“Physical tours and move-ins with whole families, or even a single family member, have been eliminated,” added McClernon. “Additionally, no furniture is being moved in at this time and each new resident is immediately placed in a 14-day quarantine isolation to protect other residents and staff.” He noted that many facilities are enabling virtual visits using Face Time and Skype, in addition to helping residents stay connected with their families through daily phone calls.
To enable those trying to select a facility without a physical tour, McClernon said he and other eldercare advisors are very familiar with the various facilities and can describe them in great detail. He specifically has toured all of them and maintains a portfolio with photographs of the facilities to share with family members. He said that some facilities also have videos about their facility, staff and services, which can be viewed online.
“Even before the pandemic, facilities were implementing measures that protect the security and health of their residents much like hospitals today,” said McClernon, “In my earlier career, when I was working in medical sales, I was able to walk the halls without restrictions. Today, you need appointments and must check-in at the hospital’s front desk. Similarly, senior facilities have become much less open.”
Right now, Long Island’s estimated 70 assisted living facilities, with some 7,000 to 9,000 beds, are well over 90% occupied according to McClernon. They do, however, have room to take in seniors who are at the point of needing their care. With this in mind, McClernon said Long Islanders shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to an eldercare advisor if they are at the point of knowing their elderly loved one needs their care. He noted that he uses a comprehensive questionnaire covering everything from a senior’s medical conditions to their ability to perform daily living tasks, as well as their personal preferences in terms of social engagement and activity. This enables him to determine the best setting for a senior and then provide specific facility recommendations that are most suitable. Also taken into account is a senior’s financial situation for which his/her trusted advisors such as an elder lawyer, estate planning attorney or financial planner are often consulted.
“These are trying times for everyone now sheltering in place,” said McClernon. “For families already worried about their senior family member, thinking about relocating that person to a senior living facility likely is adding to their concerns. The best advice I can give those families is that Long Island’s senior living facilities are among the nation’s best with highly-trained and compassionate healthcare professionals and administrators who adhere to stringent policies and procedures designed to protect the health and well-being of their residents, while also providing the quality of life they deserve.”
For more information, contact Mike McClernon at email@example.com.