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Column: Here’s help navigating senior housing options in SLO County 

senior housing photo from pixabay

– One would never guess there are 110 assisted living, memory care, independent living, and board & care facilities in San Luis Obispo County, but there are. Eighty-five of these are the small six-bed board & cares and the balance are the larger facilities. Finding the right one for your situation can take days or longer if you go it alone. If you call the board & care homes in particular you will likely get a caregiver on the phone who will not be able to help you or answer your questions.

There is a solution however and that is to utilize the free service of a senior placement consultant. They know all the owners, administrators, and sales directors intimately and have them on speed dial to have ready access to current availability and pricing.

Many are also trained Certified Senior Advisors. CSA is a designation that means they have undergone rigorous training. They must complete three months of study, read an 800-page manual, and take a written 125-question exam, plus they do 30 hours of continuing education every three years and an ethics module to keep up their accreditation. They truly understand how to work with seniors and with those dealing with conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and more.

A good senior placement consultant will meet with you live, by phone, or by Zoom and conduct a thorough assessment to understand the health and medical background of the client being placed, the financial picture, the geographic desires, the type of accommodations requested, and the budgetary considerations.
Once the full picture is mapped out the senior placement specialist will handpick usually two to four options that will be a good fit depending on parameters, availability, etc. Your senior placement consultant will simplify the process for you. SLG Senior Care provides our clients with a fact sheet with pictures, pricing, amenities, a description of the facility, and a tour checklist.

Then your senior placement consultant will set a time to tour together so they can be there to help ask and answer questions as they know each home and community intimately. Once the new home is selected they will help gather the key physician paperwork and facilitate the move-in. SLG Senior Care offers up other resources as needed such as a financial planner, real estate agent, notary, estate planning attorney, mover, move manager, etc. Your senior placement consultant should follow up after move-in; SL Senior Care follows up two, seven, and 30 days after move-in, and we bring a welcome gift on the 7th day after move-in. We also add you to our newsletter database so we can continue to stay in touch monthly in case there is a change of condition in the future that requires a move to a different facility.

Again I state this service is free to the family, the senior placement consultant is compensated by the community or care home. But please do them the courtesy of working with only one consultant at a time as they put their heart and soul and time into the process. Don’t go off on your own searching the web, keep your consultant in the loop if you identify a care home you are interested in, chances are they will have some insight into that care home and can save you time and effort if it is not good fit or help you negotiate the best rates because of their relationship with the care homes and communities if it indeed is the best fit. Your Senior Placement Consultant should be a good listener, compassionate, and kind, which should come out in their Google reviews online!

There are about half a dozen Senior Placement Consultant agencies in San Luis Obispo County. SLG Senior Care has been in business for ten years in San Mateo County, four years in San Luis Obispo County, and has helped over 900 families during that time.

Sue Gibson the author of this article and owner of SLG Senior Care can be reached at sue@slgseniorcare.com and at the office at (805) 464-2871 and on the web at www.slgseniorcare.com.

 

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