I remember a time in the back woods of Oklahoma (just how does one get lost when aiming for Oklahoma City?) I took a deep breath, pulled into a secluded bar/convenience store, opened the squeaky screened door and said “I’m lost.” An elderly gentleman with a Southern drawl immediately summed me up as a Yankee. “Where y’all going?” I gave him the general address and he replied with an initial, “Go north a mile, then turn west three and a….” “No sir, I am not a North/South person; you’ll have to give me landmarks.” This in turn led to a wonderful conversation of the local shops and the inhabitants of all the land between the two points. I bought my new friend, wearing overalls and a faded baseball cap, a beverage and after some very interesting Southern stories continued on my way smiling, giggling and starting to even think in Southern lingo.

It is not unusual for Seniors starting the navigation of a new living option to set their compass and then find it spinning in multiple directions, losing control. One person tells them the living is easy at this place and another tells them they heard of someone who had outstanding care at another place. One Assisted Living has a huge fitness room, one a mini golf course, another focuses primarily on Veterans. So if the Senior is not inclined to exercise, never swung a golf club, and only marched in the high school band which direction do they turn? What advice is reliable? Will they be able to find someone who will provide direction in their language using identifiable landmarks? Will they make a new friend?

Transition Consultants provide guidance (for the purpose of this story, direction) to their clients when looking for Independent, Assisted, Memory Care and Skilled Care. They know the important goal is to find a destination fitting their client’s needs and help focus the search. Consultants realize the complexities of each community and how their clients’ needs will most likely be met…physically, mentally, socially and financially. It is important to remember if one has seen “one” Assisted Living, one has seen “one” Assisted Living.

The moral of the story? Find a reliable source, such as a Transition Consultant (think Bridge to Better Living®) and have them do the navigation. You don’t have to worry about getting lost in the middle of no man’s land, worry about the path you are trying to find or pay for advice. You will, however, make friends with your Transition Consultant. Consider them your new compass.