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What are Our Options for Placement?

Candid portrait of a sprightly looking 90 year old man.

As important as it is to plan ahead for the need for long-term care, things often don’t happen that way. An older adult falls and breaks a hip or has a stroke, and in an instance, their life is changed forever. Suddenly family members are frantically searching for senior care services available in their area and try to determine which senior care options can best suit all the needs of the senior. Without expert guidance, this process can be very overwhelming.

When it is time to seek out housing or care options, you will benefit from the experience of a senior placement agency. Having experts in your corner will reduce your stress and save you time. Knowing what to look for in a referral agency, will help you find the best results.
Senior placement consultants help families navigate through the often-overwhelming process of finding care facilities for aging parents and spouses. There’s no cost to the client. The consultants are paid a finder’s fee by the facility that gets the placement.

Consultants are like a personal shopper, helping the client sort through all the issues involved in finding the right placement for their family member. Much of what they do is educate clients about their options. With over 200 assisted living and memory care facilities and more than 800 Board & Care homes in the greater Sacramento area, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the list.

Michael C. invested hours searching for just the right place for his father who is suffering from dementia. He had toured over 25 facilities before choosing a community he thought was a perfect fit.  Unfortunately for Michael, his father’s health started to decline pretty rapidly and Michaels’ father was exhibiting some behaviors related to his dementia. The facility that Michael had chosen was no longer able to accommodate his father’s need and Michael was asked to come in every day to help with his father’s medication and  Michael had to hire a sitter to ensure that his fathers was not going into other residents rooms.  Michael has realized that just because a facility has a memory care unite does not mean the facility can provide high level of care. Michael was stressed out and he was afraid of answering his phone. Michael realized that his father’s care level was too much for the facility and he needed to move his father again. This time Michael worked with a senior placement consultant who did all the leg work and transitioned Michael’s father into a smaller setting with more one-on-one care.

Placement agency consultants start by identifying the client’s medical and personal needs, so they can narrow down the facilities that can best accommodate their needs. They also look at where family members live, so they can find facilities close enough for them to visit quickly. Then there are financial considerations, including whether a client has to sell a home to finance their care. A good placement agency thinks long term and tries to stretch their client’s budget as much as possible. They also look at the client’s future needs, so they can recommend a placement where the client can age in place as their care needs change.

Currently, the state of California does not require any special licensing or credentials for Placement Agencies. So it is important to do some research before hiring a placement agency.  The key to finding the right placement agency is to find an agency that has Geriatric Care Managers and Consultants who are certified RCFE (Residential Care Facility for the Elderly) Administrators; this will ensure that the agency is well informed and are aware of state filings. A reputable agency should have personnel who are credentialed requiring them to follow the state laws providing you, as the consumer, information about their agency and the communities or care providers they are referring. A good Placement agency provides Disclosure of Services statement that includes agency and client information, details regarding the fee to be received for the referral, a description of the services rendered, and frequency of facility tours by the agency.

When a home is no longer an option, finding the right community makes all the difference in the world. Placement agencies do the leg-work for you ahead of time, like reviewing state records, understanding the level of care provided, and in some cases negotiating monthly fees.   Even the little things like how good the food is or social/recreational services become big things when your loved one moves into a caring community. Using a placement agency can ensure that you find the right community that can accommodate all your medical and personal needs. It can save you time and stress without costing you a dime.


Homa Rostami, BS is an Aging Life Care Manager with Elder Options, Inc. Homa has extensive experience in client assessments, entitlement programs, community resources, and dementia care.

Categories: Healthy Living