Discuss Why Assisted Living Is A Good Option
An aging parent may refuse help initially and may have difficulty understanding or recognizing how much help they actually need. Losing the ability to function independently is hard to accept. By gently and respectfully pointing out how much care your parent requires, you can help them see things from your perspective.
As the primary caregiver, you may be burned out. The impact on your life, job, and family may not be evident to a parent. Without making your parent feel guilty, try to talk to them and be honest about the stress of taking care of them. Most parents do not want to be a burden on their children. Even if you arent the primary caregiver, managing and paying for private care may be unsustainable.
If necessary, make a list of all your parents care needs. Going through these tasks as a family can help shine a light on the reality of the situation. Be specific. If your parent needs help getting dressed in the morning or help bathing, point this out. Talk about how assisted living handles and coordinates care in a way that promotes independence.
If they don’t think assisted living is right for them. You might be able to explore other options. Read our guide on alternatives to assisted living for guidance.
Coping With Guilt And Other Difficult Emotions
Many of us may feel overcome with guilt, anxiety, disappointment, or a sense of loss when placing our loved ones in a nursing home. Guilt is all too common in this situation. It is natural to feel like you’re letting your elderly parent down, especially if they are having trouble or resisting the idea of nursing home care.
How Relief Can Trigger Guilt
Sometimes, your guilt may be a result of positive emotions. For example, you may feel a sense of relief that your mom or dad will finally be in a safe place and receive appropriate care, and you’ll finally have more time for yourself.
Also, some people feel these emotions even when their loved ones are cooperative and enthusiastic about nursing home care. Despite how normal or common guilt and other difficult emotions are, they can also be harmful.
These emotions can make you feel isolated, zap you of energy, make it hard to think clearly and increase your stress. Guilt and other difficult emotions can even lead to depression in some people. It is essential you take healthy steps to cope with these feelings for the sake of your mental health.
Here are some ways to help deal with guilt over placing your loved one in a nursing home:
Watch The Quality Of Care Being Given
When you tour assisted living communities, check out the nurses and aides to determine the form of care they are providing. Even though it is not always easy to assess the personalities of each staff member, it is vital to make sure the staff appears to be courteous, friendly, and compassionate towards the residents that they are working with.
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Take Advantage Of Counseling Services & Transition Programs
This is a major physical transition, to be sure, but its also a major emotional transition for everyone involved.
Often, spouses and family members are the most dramatically affected as they watch their loved one settle seamlessly into place while the rest of the family is experiencing a sense of grief. If your parent opts to move into assisted living in the earlier stages of dementia, you may find support from a counselor valuable who can help you or your family process the complex array of emotions the transition elicits.
If youve been an integral part of your parents dementia care, we suggest reading,Adjusting to LifeAfter Being a Caregiver, which offers nourishing tips on how to handle your next steps.
Reality: Thats Not True Youre Making Sure Theyll Be Getting The Level Of Care They Need
Moving someone to assisted living doesnt mean youve failed to take care of them.
It means youre making a difficult decision to prioritize their health and safety and get them the level of care they need a level that may no longer be possible at home over the long term.
Most likely, youll still be spending a lot of time with them, checking in with the staff, advocating for their needs, and managing their overall care.
You are taking good care of your older adult and you certainly havent abandoned them.
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Plan Ahead & Make Lists
There are many aspects to transitioning your parent into assisted living, and making a plan ahead of time will help to keep things organized. On top of making a schedule, youll also want to make lists to keep track of important items.
Your plan should consist of things like:
- When to move out of their old home and when to move into the facility
- Dates for scheduling tours of the new facility or to meet the staff and caretakers
- Dates to reserve storage facilities if you plan on renting or paying for storage space
- When to sort through all their belongings
- When to go through and cancel bills for electricity, heating, phone, cable or internet etc.
Along with your plan, youll want to keep track of other important items, such as:
- What belongings to get rid of or leave in storage
- What belongings your parent will want to bring
- Important emergency numbers or medications
- Any other important items or activities that should be kept track of
Youll also want to designate roles within your family, such as who will be responsible for driving your parent to their appointments, or who will be the main point of contact with the facility.
Consult Several And Varied Sources To Determine The Best Assisted Living Community
Talk to as many people as you know to learn from their experiences. Relying on a narrow range of information can lead to bad outcomes. Read senior living community reviews. Learn about your parents’state regulatory environment, background check requirements, and appropriate agency licensing. Please take advantage of federal programs and speak to the long-term care ombudsman. Their job is to resolve issues related to safety, health, and residents’ rights in senior living communities. Setting up a meeting with an elder law attorney as new resident contracts in assisted living communities can be confusing. Understanding the scope of an assisted living community contract is crucial to identifying what is provided and avoiding unforeseen or hidden costs. An elder law attorney is best for this contract review as they will typically aspire to higher levels of professional conduct as they serve a vulnerable population.
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Moving Elderly Parents To Assisted Living
This entire process can be very difficult for some older adults. Leaving a home full of memories is an emotional decisioneven for seniors who are looking forward to assisted livingand downsizing when you have accumulated a lifetime of possessions is a lot to ask of someone. Be kind, be sensitive and try to make it be about your parent and not about you. It will take some time for Mom and/or Dad to settle in to their new home, but they will probably enjoy the change once this transition period has passed
Talk It Over Even Once A Decision Has Been Made
According to McKoy, even in severe cognitive decline, its vital to talk through the decision. You dont know how much they understand, she says. Say, Dad, you seem to need help. Im going to take you to see this community where people can help you.
Thats what Tina had to do when her mother-in-law fell and ended up in the hospital. The conversation we had with her then was that she had to go into assisted living because she had trouble walking, says Tina. Shed say I want to go home, and we always kind of blamed the doctors: The doctors say you cant go home until you can walk.’
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Is It Time For Assisted Living Your Checklist To Know Its Time
Assisted living facilities are an important option for seniors. But, they are just that: an option. So, make sure its the right choice.
If after reading these questions you have answered yes to 4 or more, moving your loved one to an assisted living community may be the best option for you and your parent.
- Does parent struggle with home repairs, yard work, and housework on her or his own?
- Can your parent bathe and shower regularly without assistance? Are you starting to worry about her or his safety while in the shower or tub?
- Has your parent started to fall behind on their bills? Or is the mail starting to pile up?
- Has your loved one recently fallen? Or have you noticed changes in their balance, mobility, or walking?
- Has your loved one started forgetting to take his/her medications?
- Does your parent need assistance scheduling and traveling to medical appointments?
- Are they snacking instead of taking the time to cook proper nutritious meals?
- Are you concerned about the safety of your loved ones as soon as they are alone?
- Is your parent finding it hard to maintain their social life? Have they started making excuses as to why they are no longer participating with friends?
- Are you starting to feel that your parent is feeling bored, lonely, or isolated?
How To Get Your Parents Into Assisted Living
The decision to move a parent into an assisted living community can be hard for any family, but the process is made much easier by keeping some basic steps in mind — starting with an open conversation
Maybe youve recently noticed that your mother or fathers health has started to decline. As a son or daughter, the idea alone is enough to make your heart break. As children, we all hold in common the belief that our parents will live forever. As we get older, we come closer to the inevitable truth that, at some point, we may have to entrust the care of our senior parents to someone other than ourselves.
Its an unenviable position.
The first thing to remember other than taking a deep breath is that you are not alone.
Not by a long shot.
According to statistics published by the National Center for Assisted Living, as of 2020, more than 800,000 Americans 93 percent of which are 65 or older live in an assisted living community. Thats a lot of discussions adult children are having with their aging parents similar to the one you may be contemplating right now. Talking to your mother or father about their declining health should at least kick start the conversation of them benefitting from a higher, more comprehensive level of care than what you are qualified or able to provide.
The conversation wont be easy, but were here to make it as stress-free as possible.
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Prepare For The Worst
If respite isnt an option and you cant reach a consensus on the subject, ask your parent what they want, and are willing to do to solve the care issues. Ask where they see themselves a few years down the road. Be ready to present some alternatives for discussion that you can both agree on.
It is possible to consider alternatives to assisted living. No senior living option is perfect, but if you are both willing to augment care with in-home services, it might be worth consideration. Talk about independent senior living with private caregivers, or board and care communities that are homier and more affordable.
If your parent flat out refuses to move, there is nothing you can do except keep trying. Leave the topic for a few days, but dont hesitate to bring it up again at another time.
Or, if the subject is too charged, discuss the care that your parent needs and how to decrease the stress it is placing on the family. You might just come up with a solution that will buy some time until a move to assisted living becomes inevitable, or your parent changes their mind.
How To Ensure A Smooth Transition And Support Parents Moving To A Nursing Home
The transition to nursing home placement can be rocky. If you plan ahead as best as you can and prepare to make the move as smooth as possible, you will have the best chance of a positive transition. It is worth noting that despite all of your efforts, the process may still be challenging. Do everything you can to ensure a smooth transition and provide all the support you can.
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Reality: Thats Not True Its Not Possible To Control Someones Health Or Cognitive Ability
Its natural to second-guess ourselves, but the reality is that nobody can predict or control the future.
You might think that maybe things would have been different if youd kept your older adult at home.
But its also possible that the outcome would have been the same.
Or, things could have been worse if you hadnt decided to move them to assisted living.
Remember, you made this tough decision because the level of care they needed was no longer sustainable at home.
Enlist The Help Of The Physician
An older adult can have a great deal of faith in the authority and expertise of their physician. If this is the case, use it to your advantage. Ask the doctor to talk with your parent about the need for assisted living.
At the next physician appointment, discuss assisted living benefits focusing on health, mood, and general well-being. Call the physicians office before the visit to let them know that you would like a discussion of assisted living to be part of the appointment.
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How To Talk To Your Parent About Moving To Assisted Living
Time waits for no one. This quote can put life in perspective, especially if you are caring for an aging family member. As time continues passing on maybe youve noticed your aging parents are showing signs that they are in need of some extra help. Maybe youre just trying to be proactive. If you are your parents primary caregiver or part of major decision-making for them, do not feel guilty about the possibility of them moving into a senior living community.
We know its a difficult decision to even think about a move to assisted living, but it could be the best decision you ever make. Remember not to think about this as a selfish decision but one that is in your elderly parents best interest for long-term care. There are so many benefits to assisted living and certain steps you can take before deciding if assisted living is right for you and your family members. This type of upfront research and preparedness will help you when the time comes to start the conversation with your parents about assisted living. Plus, it will provide some much-needed peace of mind for both you and them while you navigate through this delicate time of your life.
Tips For Moving A Parent With Dementia To An Assisted Living Facility
Top 3 Points
1. Find out if your parents need Assisted Living by identifying the signs.
2. If your parents refuse to move to Assisted Living, dont force them. Instead try to convince them by changing things up, sharing your feelings with them, asking for help from others, or even by getting legal help.
3. Be as supportive as you can throughout the entire process.
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Do Not Ambush Your Parents With The Decision
Never go home one day and tell an aging parent that their time at home is up and it is time they move to an assisted living community. They may receive this with plenty of resistance and strong resentment.
Take a different approach and start a friendly conversation with the retirees. Casually mention that there is a great option out there they can explore to make their lives more fulfilling and fun. Drop the subject if they are not on the same page today and wait for another opportunity to bring it up.
Some retirees may resist the idea vehemently because they have the wrong idea of what assisted living homes are. Many aging parents may think that assisted living facilities are institutions where they will not have any freedom and end up feeling like they are prisoners. It can help to have some pamphlets of some top-notch communities so that your dementia-afflicted parent can have an idea of what they will be getting into.
When dealing with a close-knit family, everyone should voice their opinions on the matter. Do not forget to talk finances with everyone to know how your parent will afford their new lifestyle. People with low-income can seek out various financial aid opportunities to help cover some of assisted living costs. Talking to your parents can reveal information about their retirement savings to make plans accordingly.
Planning Ahead Convincing Your Parent And Working With Your Siblings
It pays to be proactive. The more research and planning you do now, the more positive the outcome is likely to be in the future. By planning well ahead of time, you’ll be better prepared if an emergency occurs that requires you to make quick decisions. When it comes to putting a parent in a nursing home, decision-making shouldn’t feel rushed. The best outcomes are usually the result of advanced collaboration between parents and all of their adult children. Here’s how to develop your family plan:
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