Artful Aging

Exploring a Move? Consider Using a Professional

It is impossible to grow our retirement investment without some risk, but we can take control of our future to help reduce overall volatility.

Many years ago, before I entered the senior living industry, I was faced with the sudden quandary of moving my father from his independent retirement home to a Memory Care community. I was completely overwhelmed. So much so, that I was unable to think clearly about what the options might be. There were many events that led up to this predicament. Most took place within a short time. My husband and I did not feel we had the knowledge, nor the time, to consider all the options. We were in full crisis mode. Dad’s dementia required that he move very quickly. We had no plan and no help. That stressful scenario would be very different now.

Today, when it comes to exploring the vast assortment of residential communities and senior programs, we are blessed to have excellent resources here in the Puget Sound area. They are called senior placement specialists, or senior care advisors. Many are Certified Senior Advisors. This national credential assures they are trained in assisting the elderly and their families with sensitivity and expertise. These professionals have experience with the different types of care arrangements, and have screened the assisted living communities for quality of care and financial integrity. They can assess and define what qualities are most important to you in terms of living environment, cost, location, and future care, and can bring much needed objectivity to the process. They are not unlike the travel agents of the past who booked your vacation and sent you on your way with confidence, and like travel agents, they receive a fee from the providers they utilize.

Through private consultation on the phone or in person, placement professionals complete a detailed analysis of the criteria crucial to your family. For example, one assisted community may have lots of outdoor space for your mom to walk but may not offer memory care if she develops Alzheimer’s disease. With the help of a professional you can decide which amenities are truly important and which ones you may need in the future.
Price is often a deciding factor and not all communities are priced the same way. A professional advisor can research the cost of care for you. They can help you consider value versus price. This not only saves hours of your time but will surely help you narrow your decision.

Once you understand your options, the plan to help your loved one can unfold. Placement advisors can be extremely valuable in a crisis, but don’t wait for the crisis to arrive; research this valuable service before you need it. Your family will thank you.

Nancy Werner is the owner of Transitional Marketing Services. Following the passing of her father from Alzheimer’s disease she began her third career in the senior healthcare and housing industry. Contact Nancy at