Balancing A Seniors Independence And Well
Regardless of a familys unique situation, getting elderly parents to move from their home is never easy. The best scenario is to broach the subject gently, frequently and long before it needs to be acted on. In this way, the entire family can work together to understand how a loved one wishes to live out their golden years and then plan accordingly. Unfortunately, many families struggle to discuss this topic, and seniors willingness to embrace change often decreases as the decision approaches.
Ultimately, family caregivers must learn to respect their aging loved ones wishes and try to reconcile them with the best decisions for their health and safety. If a senior is not capable of partaking in these decisions because of dementia or another mental health condition, then guardianship may be the only way to ensure their well-being, but only as a last resort.
Moving Your Parent Into A Care Home
Moving your parent into a care home can be a difficult time for both parties. There are many changes, and many decisions that need to be made. Therefore, it is best to make things as easy as possible by sorting things out well in advance.
Here are some of the things you should discuss with your mum parent while they are still lucid or before it becomes inevitable for you to move them into a care home.
Ask them everything youve ever wanted to know about their childhood, how they met your other parent, and any other details to do with their life or family history. This is invaluable information to you, but more importantly, if you are later able to fill in the blanks for them while they are trying to recall a memory, it will be of great comfort to them.
Its a painful and awkward discussion, but knowing your parents preferences as to end-of-life options such as wishes regarding resuscitation efforts or feeding tube usage will help you tremendously. Have this discussion and get your parents preferences in writing, in the form of a living will.
Following these tips may lessen some of the worries associated with moving your parent into a care home. Whilst seeing your parents age is terribly difficult, particularly if they have dementia, make sure you plan for the future to ease the burdens and stresses on you both.
Q: What Is The One Thing That Many People Forget To Think About When Dealing With A Parent Who Is Refusing An Assisted Living Facility
Ms. Drelich: I believe it is that people are afraid of change, and because they currently living in the same location that they raised their family in, there may be very strong emotional component to change.
In addition, they may be afraid that they will not be able to manage the physical aspect of the move. They may need reassurance that help with the move will be provided, either by the family or by a senior move manager , and that the family will continue to be involved, perhaps even more involved.
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Hard Truth About Moving Your Parents Into Assisted Living #: Its Not Your Choice
Unless your parents are already fully financially and physically dependent on you to maintain their lifestyle, its their choice where they live. Your choices include if, when, and how to help. Thats a hard pill to swallow when you see them going down a path you wouldnt choose for them. On the upside, accepting this can improve these sometimes difficult conversations with your parent.
Find A Support Network:
Whether you join a support group who share support techniques and words of strength, visit an online forum where you can read others experiences and seek advice on your own, or just sit down and with friends and family who understand your experience, knowing that someone else knows where you are and what you are feeling is a great way to get through this difficult experience.
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What Is Assisted Living
Today, more than 735,000 people live in assisted living communities, which vary widely in the types of amenities and services they provide. Many offer private and shared apartments and rooms. Some assisted living facilities resemble Victorian mansions while others look like small homes tailored to residents’ needs. Services can include three meals a day and help with daily living activities like bathing, dispensing medication, paying bills and shopping for groceries.
Many assisted living facilities emphasize social interaction, offering regular activities, outings and amenities like on-site hair salons.
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.
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Working Together To Make The Decision
Though assisted living can breathe new passion into your loved ones life, many seniors are understandably anxious about leaving home. Dementia can make it difficult for your loved one to identify their need for assisted living or another form of support. Convincing them to consider a senior living community requires a collaborative approach. Talk to them about the benefits of senior living and dont make them feel like theyre being forced into something they hate.
As you navigate the journey, a few questions can help you make the right decision:
- What level of care am I able to provide for my loved one, and for how long?
- Are there any gaps between the care my loved one currently receives and what they need?
- What sorts of activities and daily services could improve my loved ones quality of life?
- Would an assisted living community make it easier to spend enjoyable, obligation-free time with my loved one?
- What are my loved ones values? What community would be most consistent with them?
To learn more about your loved ones options, download our free guide, The Journey to Senior Living: A Step-by-Step Guide for Families.
During A Decline Or Crisis
It seems as though aging decline can be a series of slow crumbles or a crash. A crisis that results in long-term health consequences can create a more urgent and compelling need for assisted living. A slow decline can be more difficult to assess and talk about since there are other supports that can be put in place.
Both of these situations provide a good opportunity to discuss assisted living. If your parent is in the hospital or rehab, staff can support and reinforce a discussion about the advisability of assisted living.
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Coping With The Guilt Of Putting A Parent In A Nursing Home
The guilt I felt initially and the lingering self-doubt that I carried with me are common emotional reactions for caregivers who are grappling with nursing home placement. For many, even considering the idea evokes deep feelings of shame and apprehension. These negative emotions should never be so all-consuming, though.
It takes time to come to terms with how ill a parent is and accept that they need a higher level of care. Working through the following realizations can help you ditch the regret, feel more confident about this decision, and focus your efforts on visiting as a son or daughter rather than a primary caregiver.
Dont Overlook Getting Unbiased Professional Help
I am continually trying to figure out how we can create a valuable network to help each other. But, in the meantime, I remain convinced that hiring a geriatric care manager even for some basic information and referral services is a wise investment. That person can help you figure out whether a move is necessary, how to delay or prevent it, or the best place to move if necessary. And, when you consider that you could spend up to $50,000 a year on assisted living, a $200 $300 unbiased consultation from a market insider is well worth it.
The other advantage Ive heard from friends, time and time again, is that your mom or dad is much more likely to listen to and work with someone outside the family. You know how youd rather eat nails than be in charge of your childs college application process same thing applies here. Sometimes certain intra-family decisions are really loaded and people get suspicious about each others motives. Your sister doesnt live in town with your parents so she thinks its unnecessary to move them but you live there and you KNOW that any minute your mom is going to turn on the gas stove without igniting the flame and fill the house with gas.
So, PLEASE before you do anything check out the listing of care managers on the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Manager website and interview a few.
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Their Personality Is Not The Same
While everyone changes throughout life, personality changes later in life might indicate some professional help might be needed. If you notice behavioral changes in your parents that include more inactivity than usual or less vibrancy than before, this might be a sign that they need some additional care.
If your parents are experiencing new changes in mood or have lost interest in things that they use to consider fun, its important to monitor their wellbeing more closely. These changes might be early signs of more serious problems to come and transitioning your parents to assisted living might be the right answer.
When Living At Home Doesn’t Make Sense
Helping parents around the home, to cook, to clean, do yard work, and run errands are very kind and helpful. If an accident happens dad trips and falls outside while mowing the yard, or mom slips in the bathroom, havoc reeks!
He’s broken a hip and rush to the hospital. After the discharge, he comes home and has trouble getting around. He needs more assistance with daily activities of living, it’s no longer “some” help around the house. It’s more serious now.
Another issue that older adults face is losing a spouse. When that happens, the surviving spouse becomes listless, lonely, eats less, and isolated.
Adult children plug-in to helping. It only makes sense, especially when you can easily run over and check on him. What happens when you find the gas stove burner on and he’s outside working in the garden?
Do you chalk it up to an honest mistake?
Your dad wants to stay home, after all he shared the it with your mom for 57 years! You want that for him too. But it’s different now he’s complaining about sleepless nights and being depressed. He hates being alone all the time.
You begin to wonder if he should make a move. You’d love to move back home and be more available, but you have children, a husband, and a job.
How do you convince a parent that it’s time to think about assisted living?
You resist the thought because you feel guilty. But a time comes when reality hits hard.
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Misconceptions Surrounding Power Of Attorney
When it comes to putting a parent in a nursing home against their will, some people mistakenly believe that being designated as a financial power of attorney or medical POA gives them this authority. That is not the case.
No document gives the caregiver that authority, notes Geffen.
There are certain things you can and cant do with POA, and these things vary depending on how the document is written and when it goes into effect. These documents only give someone the power to be the impaired persons voice for legal, financial and/or health care matters, Geffen says.
Larry Abrams, administrator for The New Jewish Homes Sarah Neuman campus, a combined short-term rehab and long-term skilled nursing facility in Westchester, N.Y., says that in cases where guardianship is not obtained and family members somehow convince an elder to move to a senior living community, there is no guarantee that the elder will stay there.
We usually cant force someone to stay, Abrams admits. If an elder wants to go home, we cant legally stop them if they are lucid and able to make rational decisions. We put a discharge plan in place that states how and where they will continue receiving care. That plan might include in-home care. However, as long as the person has mental capacity, we must allow them to leave and then report the case to adult protective services.
The Benefits Of Assisted Living
An overwhelming majority of adults 77% would prefer to receive care in their own homes, according to the AP-NORC Centers Long-Term Care Poll. It is possible to hire home health aides to care for a parent if you or your parent has the means to pay for that care. However, there are benefits your parents can receive by being in an assisted living facility or nursing home that they might not get with a home health aide.
Professional, round-the-clock care: Workers in care facilities are trained and must follow certain protocols. Agencies that provide home health aides typically provide training for their aides, too. However, when your parent is in a facility, theres the added benefit of having several aides there at once to provide oversight. Plus, if one aide calls in sick, there will still be others in the facility to help. If a home health aide calls in sick, you can be left without a caregiver for your parent.
Social interaction: Care facilities offer an opportunity for residents to interact with each other so they dont feel isolated. Most provide a variety of activities for residents to keep them mentally engaged and physically active.
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Cedar Cove Could Be Your Parents Best Choice For Assisted Living And Memory Care In Coastal North Carolina
We will care for your parents as if they were our own. With a friendly, highly-qualified staff, we want you to know that the ones you love are in good hands.
We offer spacious courtyards and special events. We form a bond with our residents, and we can honestly say that we are like a family.
In addition, were located in the beautiful coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina, where your loved one will be minutes away from gorgeous beaches, restaurants and shopping.
See for yourself. Schedule a Virtual Tour.
Why not take a virtual tour and discover Cedar Cove for yourself? Contact us for more information.
Be Respectful Of Their Feelings
Always be considerate of your loved ones feelings regarding the decision to move to a long-term care facility or to bring a caregiver into his or her home. After all, coming to terms with the loss of independence and the need for help is not easy, regardless of the situation. Be respectful of their desire to hold onto their independence. It may require several difficult conversations. It may require a serious incident to help them understand the importance. Regardless, its important to maintain empathy for their feelings and their situation.
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Hard Truth About Moving Your Parents Into Assisted Living #: It May Take An Emergency
If your parents have been resistant to moving from their home, prepare for them to continue to be. They may not ever be ready. That leaves you to do research and understand the options ahead of time, in case a medical crisis or safety issues force a crisis. So while its not your choice now, it may be eventually. If your parents wont talk or take action, it doesnt hurt to think about what you would do if you could make the choice for them. This can help you feel more prepared in case you are one day forced to address their housing situation quickly and with minimal warning.
Prepare For Moving Day
For most people, moving into an assisted living facility and leaving a home they have lived in for years can be overwhelming. There will be lots of emotions and unknowns for you and your parents.
Here are four ways you can help make moving day go more smoothly for you and your loved one.
Moving a parent to assisted living can be a tough transition. Do not be surprised if everyone involved experiences some intense emotions.
Your parents may mourn:
The passing of their younger years
Nearby friends and neighbors or
The home they built.
They may be afraid of:
Having to depend on the kindness of strangers or
Finding their way in a new place.
There’s a good chance you are mourning all of them as well. Perhaps you are stressed and second-guessing yourself.
You may be asking yourself:
Were we too quick to act?
Did we overreact?
Did we wait too long?
Was this the best facility choice for Mom or Dad?
There will be guilt it is inevitable, but, please know that all of these feelings are normal and do not last forever.
Determine Your Parents Role
Be sure to have your parents’ role in moving day planned out.
You should ask your parents where they would like to be and what they would like to do on moving day as you plan the move.
Do they want to direct the action from the comfort of their easy chair? If not, have a family member keep them busy throughout the day. Your loved one may enjoy:
Create a Plan
To do this, you can:
Make it Special