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MARINETTE — Sooner or later, many families will begin to research assisted living facilities for their loved ones. Choosing when to begin this search and which facility best suits an elderly family member’s needs can be a difficult process, but organizations such as the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) in Marinette County is available to help answer some of the more difficult questions.

“The first thing to remember when discussing how families choose which assisted living facility works best for them is that every family is different,” said Pam Daye, ADRC Supervisor. “There is no clear script on how how to handle this.”

“If you meet one person with Alzheimer’s, then you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s,” she said. Daye added that every person and family is different, and even though a facility works for one person, it may not work for the next, even if their circumstances seem similar from the outside.

There are often indicators that a loved one isn’t doing well and needs help which leads a family to begin the search for an assisted living facility. AgingCare.com states that a loved one may undergo some physical and mental changes that will clue the family in that their loved one may need help. An elderly person may become increasingly more forgetful and start sleeping all day. Some may begin neglecting their typical duties, including household and hygienic duties.

“All these little things add up, and eventually family members will ask themselves ‘does mom or dad need help?’” Daye said. “They will then begin to look into assisted living options, or they can come to us and we will try to help.” Daye said that the first step the ADRC takes when helping a family is to get to know the family and the individual that needs help so they can appropriately help each family.

Daye said the next steps are to research the various assisted living facilities in the area. She says there are different aspects that a family may look at before choosing the correct assisted living facility.

“We give a checklist for families to read before looking at facilities, she said. “We advise them to look around, and take note of how the residents look. Are they well-dressed? Do they seem happy? Are the staff helpful and welcoming? Is the facility clean?”

The checklist that ADRC provides also advises families to ask questions such as: “Is there a resident or tenant council available?” “Did the home provide written copy of and explain resident/tenant rights and house rules?”

It also suggest looking at the services each facility provides such as help with laundry, housekeeping or transportation.

Daye said that they also take a family’s income into account when choosing assisted living options as well. “Assisted living can be expensive and not every family has the means to pay for it,” Daye said, adding that some facilities are less expensive than others and there are financial aid options that some lower-income families can utilize if qualified.