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Sheryl supported her father, Alan, during his interRAI assessment.

InterRAI assessment: what’s it like?

Has a health problem compromised your wellbeing or ability to live as independently as possible? An interRAI assessment identifies what might bring an improvement and whether support services would help. Sheryl’s father, Alan, was assessed as part of his transition to a retirement village. Here, Sheryl describes what the process was like for her Dad and also for herself.

We had been waiting for Dad’s interRAI assessment for two months so it was good when the actual day came – the waiting time can add a bit of stress to an already stressful time.

The whole thing took about two hours. The assessor’s questions were designed to find out what Dad does from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed. Getting a sense of Dad’s routine is the aim, and whether there are any gaps in his day. Dad talked through what he did from getting dressed, shaving, to lunch and dinner, and how he manages to cook or heat his food.

From time to time the assessor asked me for my input as well, which helped give a better understanding of Dad’s needs at this time. We explained that Dad is able to arrange his own taxi to go to his day programme, and can get his own groceries. Also that Dad manages to do all his gardening, and is very familiar with the washing machine and vacuum cleaner!

After the general questions there was a dementia test, which took about 30 minutes. Dad had to repeat certain phrases and answer general knowledge questions such as who is the Prime Minister and so on. He also had to write down some of his answers.

The assessor was very respectful of Dad throughout the questions, praising him when he got the answer right. I could see there’s a delicate dance to this process to ensure you don’t erode people’s confidence even more.

The outcome was that Dad is doing really well. In time he may require general rest home care. This confirmed where I thought Dad was at, and it gave the retirement village a better understanding of his needs.

It was a rather stressful time for Dad and after the assessment was finished he was quite tired and not keen on talking about it. So I left him and came back to cook dinner later on in the day. He was fine by then.

Reflecting back on it all now, I can see it’s just a process that has to be gone through. It was handled very carefully by the assessor, who ensured Dad was treated with respect and not treated as just a number. So while the thought of assessment may be daunting, I found the process very respectful for my lovely Dad.

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