Edited By Ceridwyn

Assisted Living Assignments: The Phone Interaction

Contributed By WalesMaven, Mystery Shop Forum Member

FAQ: Help! I have my first assisted living assignment, and I want to be sure I do it right. What do I need to know? Almost all such shops begin with a phone call, often recorded, to gather information and make an appointment. You will probably be working to get connected to the most relevant person to “sell” you on the community and its services. Be prepared with answers to a number of qualifying questions.

FAQ: What kind of questions will I be asked? Obviously, you will need a name and current location for the loved one for whom you are acting. I often shop for my Uncle Ted/Aunt Jean. They will want to know what concerns Ted and/or family members have to precipitate your interest.

For rehab or skilled nursing, this may be that Ted will be discharged soon from the hospital and needing rehab or nursing services. For that shop you will need the name of the hospital and Ted’s doctor’s name. A quick Google search will provide these if the scheduler does not.

Don’t be surprised if the associate says that it’s always the hospital social worker who calls them with a “placement.” Just carry on, saying that the family wants to prescreen facilities and you have been designated to do this.

FAQ: What else will the facility want to know? For any of these communities, be prepared to say what interests Ted has (gardening, cribbage, keeping up with Korean War veterans’ groups, crochet, etc.). Also, what issues are you hoping the community can address, such as Ted not eating a balanced diet, missing medication, being unsteady on the stairs or getting in and out of the bath? You may also be directed to indicate some level of memory loss well short of “wandering” and failure to recognize family.

FAQ: What is my overall purpose for this call? The aim is to get to the point where the associate will close for an appointment, and once you are on site, to close for a contract to rent or buy a place for your loved one. This is very like portraying a “ready, willing and able” buyer for a new car or home. The catch is that you are the decision maker for another person who is not incompetent.

FAQ: Why should the associate accept me as the person to be “closed” in the absence of my relative? Here are a few of my reasons that Uncle Ted/Aunt Jean rely on me, and me alone, to make this decision:

1. Ted/Jean is a retired senior military officer/exec who “staffs out” stuff like this to me and has done for years. He/she said, “Just get it done.”
2. I have the “power of the purse” and the medical POAs and have managed Ted/Jean’s affairs for nearly 15 years. He/she will be moving here to be close to [a family member, group of war buddies, etc) from [1200 miles away] and just want someone to set it all up. After that, I get to go out and close up and sell the property once it is vacant.
3. I do this as a business service, managing life transitions for people with more money than time, who are accustomed to having professional assistants to do such things. (I actually know someone who does this and has a client waiting list!)

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